Where’s God?

Jan Antonsson

worry_9

The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway

October 6, 2017

Neosho, MO

 “One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6, ESV).

The graphic speaks to what’s on my heart today:  “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27, ESV). Win Parker, a friend and fellow traveler on The Glory Road, gave me permission to share his thoughts about our topic, which as you’ve no doubt guessed, is how do we cope in a world gone mad, with hurricanes wreaking death and destruction, a mass murder in Las Vegas, and then, lest we forget, there’s the madman in North Korea.

From Win’s blog:

“We’re asking the wrong question, raising the wrong objections, responding in non-productive ways to the world around us. I’d like to propose to myself and to you a different response.

“Where’s God in this?”

 “I admit that most of the time, I wouldn’t be able to answer this question. “Where is God in a hurricane, in a mass shooting, in a rogue state rattling its three nuclear bombs in the face of the world, in the puffed-up blusterings of heads of state. I don’t know. But asking the question places the condition of the world into the perspective of the all-controlling God Who is working behind the scenes, writing a glorious story, painting a masterwork, carving out of all the events, big and small, a living statue of grace and love. In this tangled collage of seeming random and, purposeless events, the only question which makes any sense is “Where is God in this?”  End Quote.

It is far more than coincidence that Win’s question, was the very one I posed to the Lord on Tuesday, after hearing and seeing the dreadful carnage, terror, and death a lone gunman rained down on innocent lives gathered to hear a Country Music concert.  I KNOW God is in all people all the time, so I asked Him, “Where were you when the madman began gunning down people in Las Vegas?”  I’ll tell you His answer, but the Spirit will have to interpret it for you as I believe He has for me.

He said, “I was there, in him and in them all.”

His answer reminds me of a quote Harry Fox shared with me, made by Elie Wiesel, the famous Jewish theologian who wrote extensively about his experiences during the Holocaust.    Harry referenced the following account in one of Wiesel’s books many times, but I had to live 70+ years on planet Earth before I finally got the significance of it.

In the story,  Wiesel recounted how a small Jewish teenager was hanged by the Nazis in the street of some German city, whose name I can’t remember.  The teen’s weight was not great enough to snap his neck, so he struggled there gasping for breath for many long minutes before he died. The on-lookers were horrified.  One of them groaned, “Where is God?”  Wiesel proclaimed, “He’s there in that boy.”  It still gives me goose bumps as I think of it, which I do every time I’ve heard one of the Las Vegas survivors tell their story.  Tears stream down my cheeks each time I listen to their experiences and pray that God will comfort them and me as well.

Flying back from Tel Aviv, in 2000,  Lenny and I sat next to an Israeli man who was traveling to New York City on business.  I asked him if he believed in God.  Like so many Israeli people today, he said, “NO.”  Incredulous, I next asked him if he didn’t think the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had a little something to do with the fact that Israel, a very small country, has survived and thrived though surrounded by a zillion Arabs who would like nothing better than to push them all into the sea.   He thought a moment and then replied, “But where was He during the holocaust?”

Tragedy always has the effect of stealing faith from some of its victims, but by His grace, it strengthens many more of us, so that like iron forged in flame, our faith springs up from roots long buried by life’s tedium. God in us rises above situations which had we not experienced Him within us, would have swamped our row boat and sunk us to the bottom of the abyss.

Therefore, I understood God’s answer to me when I asked Him where He was during the mayhem we see unfolding before us 24/7 on all our media devices.  God was in Harvey, and Irma, and Maria, and in all those who suffered the consequences of their fury.  He was in Las Vegas as well, in all the participants, including victims as well as perpetrator.   Maybe the reason we have such trouble with this is that we are all programed to live, not die.  After all, Jesus promised us life and it more abundantly.  I grew up with a mother, grandmother, and aunt who worried not stop about us kids. It took me decades to realize that part of their fear of death was the always lurking threat of hell fire and eternal damnation if we sinned and died before we could repent.

When Lenny and I moved to Neosho, and lived in that 5th wheel beside the barn on the family farm, my dear mother worried and wrung her hands about all the things that could kill or injure us.  Lenny had many appointments with the VA Medical facility due to his macular degeneration and excessive pain.

Consequently, we made countless trips to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where his Primary Care doctor was, and also made several trips a year to Little Rock, where the VA Vision center and Ophthalmology was located.  Every time we made such a trip, mother always, pressed some emergency cash into my hands, and warned, “Be careful.  There are dangerous drivers out there. Call me when you get there.”   Though Lenny found it ridiculous, I always called her to let her know we lived over the trip,  because God had not revealed Himself to her in such a way that she understood she could trust Him for our lives.

Now that I’m old and have suffered many disappointments, huge losses, and many spiritual gains as a result of those losses, I see that God was in it all, the good, the bad, the horrible and the glorious.  Paul admonishes us to praise Him in all things.  I haven’t managed to do that in the midst of a crisis yet, but shortly thereafter, I remember the One with whom we have to do, on this side and the other side of Jordan.  And I tell Him as I did this morning, that I’m turning my worries over to Him, and will continue to do so even if it means giving them to Him every second of every day.

Win ended his blog with these thoughts:  “You Who know all, see all and control all for Your own purposes and for our best, we look for You in the chaotic images of this day. And, not finding You there, we can but trust that it is Your hand guiding and directing all this death, sickness, terror toward Your own ends. Snuggling into Your arms, leaning against Your Infinite Heart, we relax into You, for You are the Answer whom we all seek whether we know it or not. Yours is the reality of which this earth and all that is in it is but a dim parody, a shadow image.

With gratitude and praise we haltingly, with trembling lips, see You in that which we call “news,” for mortal eyes cannot see behind the curtain You have drawn across your plans.  We know not what You do, but, in childish trust, we acknowledge that You are the only sensible Answer.”  End Quote.  Win Parker.

Those who died in the hurricanes and the mass murders, in the terrible carnage of 9/11, in the Holocaust in Germany, and the millions slain by Stalin in Russia, are with God now, and there could be no better place to abide than in Him who called us from our mother’s womb and lovingly guides us back home to Him when our life is spent.  It is the only way I can even begin to watch the news.   HE is the only one who knows the end from the beginning.  He knew from before the foundation of the world how all our lives would play out, and He made provision through Christ to bring us all home to Him when the final curtain comes down on our lives.  What a glorious God we call ABBA.

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.” Amen.  Jan Antonsson

Jan Austin Antonsson

17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail Address)

All our writings from 1997-2010 are on

The Glory Road

Our writings from 2010 until the present are on this blog.

We always enjoy hearing from you!

Jantonsson@aol.com

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