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Where is God in This Horror Show?
"And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years,
and who had suffered much under many physicians,
and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse." - Mark 5:25-26
As I read today's reading, two people's sayings came to mind:
1. A friend of mine, a Christian man, would always respond to the question, "How are you?" with "Better than I deserve." And I would always think, "That's so true!" and would often say, "Aren't we all?"
2. An atheistic woman was asked about God and she responded, "Where is God in this horror show?" I also sympathize with her words. Very often, life in this world is a horror show.
So, where is God? Why is life so often a horror show? And how can we say that we're all doing better than we deserve?
One of the things I love about the Bible is that it's a brutally realistic book. It doesn't cover up sin or minimize suffering. Some Christians act like it does. Some atheists and skeptics will attack the Bible for condoning rape and slavery and murder, but the Bible doesn't condone those actions; it just shows them for what they are.
In today's passage, we see two heart-breaking "horror show" incidents: A woman who has had a discharge if blood for twelve years and a young girl who dies at twelve years old. Twelve years is an awfully long time to bleed but a terribly short time to live. Sadly, we live in a world where these things happen all the time. So, where is God?
First, the very fact that Jesus came into the world and healed the sick and raised the dead tells us what God thinks about these horrible realities. Remember that, according to the Bible, such suffering comes into the world as a result of sin. God hates sin and all of the consequences it has brought into His creation, which is why He sent His Son into the world: out of love for His people and hatred for sin and its curse.
Secondly, Jesus victory over sin and death on the cross and in His resurrection secures victory and final deliverance for His people. Those who trust in Jesus and hold fast to Him in faith have assurance that the "horror show" is temporary but God's love and salvation for them are eternal. Jesus showed that He has the power to defeat all horrible enemies: sin, sickness, demons, blindness, paralysis, death. His promise is that each of these realities is only temporary.
Third, we can learn to trust God that the horror show is not without purpose. The world may seem to be spinning out of control, but it's not. God has all things in His hands and works all things for His purpose. That doesn't mean that He is in favor of everything that happens or that He delights in evil. But evil can have purpose and can be used for good, if God is in control of it all. Otherwise, it truly is senseless. This is hard, because at time everything within us screams out "Senseless!" But we need not give in to despair. God is working, even when we can't see His hands.
Where is God in this horror show? He is hating the evil, which he sent His Son to defeat, even as He is working redemption for those who trust in Him. And so, in the midst of the horror - which our sinful rebellion against God has brought into the world - we are all doing better than we deserve.
Prayer Based on Psalm 76:
In the church, You are known, O God;
Your name is great among Your people.
Your dwelling has been established in our hearts and our midst by the Holy Spirit,
Here You have broken the curses of sin and death,
and You frustrate the warfare of our enemy against us.
Glorious are You, more majestic
than the mountains full of prey.
The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;
they sank into sleep;
all the men of war
were unable to use their hands.
At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
both rider and horse lay stunned.
But You, You are to be feared!
Who can stand before You
when once Your anger is roused?
From the heavens You uttered judgment;
the earth feared and was still,
when You, O God, arose to establish judgment,
to save all the humble of the earth.
Surely even the wrath of man shall praise You;
the remnant of wrath You will put on like a belt.
May we fulfill our vows to You, O Lord your God, and perform them;
let all Your people bring gifts
to You, who are to be feared,
You who cut off the spirit of princes,
who are to be feared by the kings of the earth.
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