Recently, a world event caused me to question. An 11 year old girl, Jaycee Dugard, was kidnapped in 1991 and recently discovered (found) alive and physically well. (She was kidnapped by religious zealots from what I understand.) After hearing about this, I questioned some things on a deeper level and truthfully, I dealt with some fear. (I will spare you the details of what happened during those 18 years in case you don't want to know.)
Certainy everyone can agree that the Devil is in control of such evil as kidnapping and abuse. But, I must say after hearing about the Dugard lady (now 29) I entertained the age old question, "Where was God? And, where is God in the midst of horrible suffering?" Granted I fully believe that sin opened the door to that evil. My response has always been, "everyone chooses life or death and unfortunately, we all feel the effects of a fallen world with evil." But, I asked myself recently- in my heart of hearts- is that just a cliche response? What do I really believe?
I read this article that comforted and quieted my heart. Where is God? (Weekly Sermon, Bruce Wells Mar 14, 2009) I want to share excerpts here today.
"Don't murder yourself for asking the question 'Why?'. If we had time this week we could turn to the Lord Jesus Christ when He was on the cross, and some of the most famous words that He spoke were these: 'My God! My God! Why? Why hast Thou forsaken Me?'. To the onlookers of that time, as well as to those who first read the story, it seems that God did forsake Jesus, so we obviously conclude that He will forsake us as well in our darkest moments. Yet, upon continued observation of the events that unfolded after the crucifixion, the truth was revealed that nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even death (Romans 8:37-39). After Jesus was crucified, He was glorified (1 Peter 1:21). From this example alone we can be assured that even when we do not feel God’s presence in the midst of our pain, we can still believe His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)." God showed me that Jaycee's return is a picture of His heart, His desire (not the events that transpired prior).
My Pastor also gave this incredible message and the thread to me was God's goodness. God was asking me, "Will you trust in my goodness?"
I have 100% tasted and seen the Lord's goodness in my own life, no question. And, no matter what I see or hear or experience, I will choose to believe God is great and, GOD IS GOOD! Psalm 34:8 "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." God's ending will prevail (even when we don't yet see it).
Bruce Wells summed it up for me with this:
"When Sir Harry Lauder lost his only son - he was killed in World War I - he turned to his best friend and he said this, and I quote: 'When a man comes to a thing like this there are just three ways out of it. There is drink, there is despair, and there is God. By His grace the last is for me'."
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42)
And, today, I ask you to please pray for the Dugard family and all involved - that God would show who He really is and that they would experience His salvation (health, peace, and wholeness). And pray for us, the Church, that our prayers would be fervent, our love tangible, and our faith even greater- to see God work miracles in the midst of despair.