The Attacks on NYC and Washington
Do You Struggle With God About It All? Scared?
If you want a quick, zappy answer to ‘Why???’- well, go and talk to some happy clappy pastor of a well heeled church some place. He’ll give you some platitudes. You won’t find a quick answer on this site. But if you are reaching out, searching, groping, for the ways of our invisible God…read on.
“How long shall this land mourn?”
I struggle with God at times. I was in New York a few days before the bombings. I was looking at the World Trade Center towers out of the plane window, as I flew in to La Guardia and out of JFK. And now…now, amongst other emotions, I struggle with God. The God who says, and I believe Him still, that He so perceives the value and meaning of persons; we humans, whom He has created. Created us, He says- and again, I believe Him still- for a purpose. A good and righteous and happy one, too- the eternal Kingdom of God , to be established on this very planet. Kicking and screaming like a baby, I believe Him still. Yet at times like this, the very struggle with Him makes me know the more clearly that He is. That He is there. Out there, a real, live, person. In Heaven. In whose image you and me were created. But, Why…? “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” , His Son cried. His prophet Jeremiah said: “You are righteous. Even though I am going to struggle with you. Yet I want to reason a case with you. Why…? How long shall this land mourn?” (Jeremiah 12:1,4).
So we’re in good company in our feelings of struggle with God, the God we believe “is love”. But, in the old English version of Isaiah: “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour”. Too many pastors and churches are giving a simplistic view of God. Just go to church, give some money, you’ll be fine. And one day soon, we’ll get things back to normal. It’s all going to be OK. God is, of course, the God of love, of salvation. The God who was so sensitive to His creation on this earth that He gave His only Son to die for us, by the torture of the cross- the Son of Mary, a man like us with our nature although Son of God too, who knew all our pain and our hunger… who knew death itself [keep this in mind- don’t get muddled by all the theological fuffle about a ‘trinity’ or Jesus and God being the same person]. But the God of the Bible has a harder side to Him, a side that we struggle with. And yet the side that, to me, makes ‘God’ a real God, and not just a black box in my brain that I call ‘god’.
Backs To The Wall
“God is love”. Not that we much understand those three words at times like this. We are thrown up against a fundamental question: Do I believe the Bible is the word of God? Do I believe in God if He let this happen? Most people on this planet believe there is a God. Or they say they do. But my sense is that only a tiny percentage really believe in Him. If He is , and I believe and testify that He is , then we cannot just out our questions about Him to one side. They become vital, crucial…to our very existence and being as persons. In the very, very end, God promises that He will send His resurrected Son, Jesus, back to this earth, to transform it, to bring about His Kingdom here on the earth- just as He promised to Abraham the forefather of both Jews and Arabs. It’s not going to be an eternal life spent on a cloud in Heaven playing a harp. Or something abstract and fantasy-like. The Kingdom of God will be here, on this earth. “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). We pray for God’s Kingdom to come- and it sure isn’t here now- so that, then, on this earth, His will shall be done- on earth (Matthew 6:10 ). Our faith in these promises really becomes stretched to its full extent when we realize that hundreds and thousands of innocent people, many of them ‘good living’ within the terms of their societies, who wanted to just go about their daily lives in peace…now lay dead due to the aggression of others. But, do you believe? That there is a God? That He has spoken in His word, the Bible? If we do, we have to face up to some realities. This world as it is, cannot go on. God will keep His promises.
God is in control.
Believe it. Don’t just hope it. Believe it. But the only source for that faith- is in the Bible.
God: How Are You Going To Do It?
We know why He is going to radically transform this planet- and human lives and the whole human condition. We know why . Why He will do it, and, as “a faithful creator” (1 Peter 4:19), why He has to do it. And, soon. We can’t see those bombings, nor reflect on the way our world is fast spiraling into self-destruction, and not know why . And, more to the point, why it has to be soon . Yet, how is this time of eternal life and peace going to be brought about? Humankind surely cannot achieve it of themselves. The planet is fast heading to self destruction as it now is. Only the willfully blind refuse to see this. It’s now obvious to any reflective, sensitive person. After the bombings, it has to be. The writing is on the wall for our planet. So again…how is this Kingdom of God on earth going to be achieved? It has to be by God dramatically intervening. And He’s going to. But, how? And when? The why is surely, now, clear enough to us all.
I believe in the Bible, for what it claims to be almost three times on every page: the very words of God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16 ; 1 Peter 1:21). This is at least some sort of comfort- that there, in that neglected book, the book that too many people open on a Sunday but don’t deeply study…we have the very words of Almighty God Himself. We are not left on this planet with no revelation of our God. We have it, there, really, in that book. In that black print on white paper.
There is in Bible prophecy a repeated description of a period of human history called “the last days”, “the time of the end”. Those prophecies describe “a time of trouble such as never was…men’s hearts failing them for fear, apprehensive of what is coming on the earth”. That sounds like us, right now. The Bible is relevant, crucially and vitally and even bitingly so. We can’t put the book down. That was Luke 21 I just quoted. Read some more from that same chapter: “When you shall hear of tumults and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must necessarily come to pass first…”. “First”…? Before, what? “There shall be signs…upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity…and then [here we have it…and then!]…”.
Well, then, what?
In triumph and comfort and reassurance, every Bible believer can quote the rest: “And then shall they see the Son of man [Jesus Christ] coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; because your salvation is drawing near!” (Luke 21:25-29). Things like the NYC bombings are signs. Yes, signs. That the Lord Jesus Christ is about to return. And Jesus in that same chapter says that there is a specific sign. To do with the city of Jerusalem . Yes, real, literal Jerusalem , out there in Palestine / Israel . “There shall be great distress in the land [of Israel ], and wrath upon this people [of Israel ]. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword [Jesus wouldn’t have been understood if He’d said ‘incinerated by missiles, crushed beneath tanks, machine gunned…] and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”.
Watch Israel and the Middle East . Watch Jerusalem . This will be the next step. Isaiah and others describe this final, brief time of trouble in figurative language- the skies caving in around us, the stars falling. But, this is figurative language. The earth itself will never be destroyed (Ecclesiastes 1:4). Why? Because God keeps His promises. And He has promised eternal life to His people, who are to live on this very same planet for ever. But sadly, mankind generally has rejected His message. They crucified His own and dearly beloved Son. And so God is allowing our planet to go it’s own way for the time being. It will culminate, as all these prophecies predict, in a brief time of awful trouble. The worst in that sense is ahead. For a brief moment. But this is a prelude to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, the man who was here 2000 years ago, who died on a hill near Jerusalem , covered in blood and spittle. He will return. “This same Jesus, which was taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you saw him going into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Jesus is coming. Really and truly. And, coming soon. “The Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come. But who may abide the day of his coming?” (Malachi 3:1). We seek Him, we need Him, we want Him to come. Especially at times like this. But are we ready? Do we really want Him to come all the time, when life has returned to some level of normality for us after a crisis? The Lord Jesus Christ is returning to resurrect His people, and to grant them eternal life in this Kingdom. But that wonderful prospect is only for those who have believed His Gospel and been baptized into Him. Yes, salvation isn’t going to be for every single human who ever walked this earth. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved [yes, believe this!]. But he who believes not will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
And so now in conclusion I must talk with you straight. As one struggling, mixed up man to another. But also, as a man who believes God’s Truth, reaching out across cyberspace to you in this sad world. Have you believed the Gospel? Do you know what it is? Really know? Have you been baptized? And I mean, Biblical baptism, by immersion of an adult in water, into the death and resurrection of Jesus. You need to make that connection between yourself and the death and resurrection of Jesus. He, a man like you and me, our representative, yet…perfect, sinless, who overcame our humanity in every point where we fail…He died and rose again. You must do something concrete. Not just worry about the state of the nation and the way of the world. Yes, you. You, must be baptized. When you go under the water, it’s like sharing in the death of Jesus. And when you come up out of it, it’s like bonding yourself with His resurrection. I don’t say you go off and find a bath tub and do it right now. You’ve got to believe and know the Gospel first. So, find out about it. Study it systematically. There is a book, Bible Basics, that you can study online. And a study course that goes with it, called Introducing Bible Basics. We’ll send it to you free. No calling at your home, no bending money out of you, no badgering of you to join some church. We, I, sincerely and before God want you to find out and believe the basic message of the Gospel, and accept it, be baptized into Jesus, and live the life that is in Him. So that you can share in this wonderful new world that is to come, the eternal peace and life, “and that more abundantly”, that awaits God’s people beyond the gathering storm. You can get your free copy of the literature mailed to you by going to http://www.biblebasicsonline.com/free-bible-basics-book.html
Or you can read it online at www.biblebasicsonline.com. In many languages. Please, go and do it. For your own sake. For my sake. For the sake of Him who loved you and gave His Son that you might find the true and real and eternal and more abundant life. Spare at least half an hour of your time in this not so busy life to look into it. You know you can find that time if you want. We can find time for what we really want.
So finally, farewell. Be strong, be of good courage. Forgive my straight talking. But the urgency of our times and our position as women and men call for it.
With my abiding love and prayer for all you readers
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
Did the devil cause this?
Quick answer: No. God has 100% power. He doesn’t share power with anyone. The devil is a personification of human selfishness and evil. There is no actual dragon with a tail etc. who is up there causing havoc on earth. It’s a fantasy. It doesn’t exist in that sense. Want more detail? See http://www.biblebasicsonline.com/english/Study06GodandEvil/0601GodAndEvil.html
Why does God allow any human suffering?
Quick answer: He has a higher plan which He is working out. He intends only good for those who believe Him. And, He will in the very end deliver- eternal life, on the very highest and untainted level of existence, in His Kingdom on earth. Want more detail? See http://www.biblebasicsonline.com/english/StudyAppendixes/App04TheJusticeOfGod.html
What is the basic message of the Gospel, according to the Bible?
There’s a summary of basic Bible doctrines- not those taught by many churches but straight from the Bible itself- at http://www.biblebasicsonline.com/english/StudyAppendixes/App01SummaryOfDoctrines.html
View our home page: www.biblebasicsonline.com
If you have questions you want to ask and discuss, send them to this email address . Mature Christians who have been studying the Bible many years will make a personal reply to you. We may not have all the answers. We’re all only disciples, ‘learners’ as the word means. But we’ll try to help you.
At this time we also wish to express our deepest condolences and sympathy for those who have experienced the loss of family members or an injury in the events in New York and Washington. You are in our prayers and thoughts. We urge all other readers of this page to keep those who have suffered in their prayers as well.
Apology from the author and publishers:
The material on this web site was put together within hours of the bombings. We apologize for the rough edges of it, in presentation, reasoning and style. But perhaps we’ll leave it as it is. For this is from the heart, of sincere, Bible believing folk, who want to share their hope of God’s Kingdom with you.
Bible Basics, P.O. Box 3034, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0ZA ENGLAND