Dear friends in Christ,
As I listened to the news this week, about yet another terrorist attack, I was struck by the helplessness that these attacks foster. Following the attack in Nice and then the attack in Munich, there are many who feel that the world is spinning out of control. The U. S. Department of State reported in their National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism: Annex of Statistical Information, Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2015, that in 2015, throughout the world there were on average thirty-two terror attacks each day with a yearly total of 28,328 deaths, 35,320 injured, and 12,189 kidnapped. It is easy to see why people are worried about the present and the future.
Our theology teaches us that everything is under God’s providence even if it appears as if chaos has taken over. Scripture presents us with a God who has chosen to act with, through, and around us, as God’s people, in order to accomplish God’s will. We also see that those children of God who struggled with the world and even with God received significant blessings.
Throughout the world today, there are numerous evils at work. We have people starving in some countries while people are dying of diseases related to overeating in others. Wars or covert wars can be found in every hemisphere of the earth and not only do we have diseases of old but we have new ones. ISIS and other terrorist seem to be able to reach out and steal lives away anywhere and almost at will. It is in times like these that we need to see the hand of God stretching out to us. It is also in times like these that the hand of God is often hidden by our fear, killing hands, and hard hearts of people.
The task of the children of God, as the Church, is to discern the will of God and to act upon it. The theater of life into which we have been thrust contains may dangers. However, there are significant blessing to go with every difficult struggle. Our lives are draped with the promise of God, that all things will work together for our good if only we love the Lord. This is not the “success theology” you can hear so often on television. This is not a promise to Christians of better jobs, happier marriages, more money, or even of thinner waists. The blessings of God do not take away the struggle. The blessings of God will not remove the scars of life or ensure that there will be no lasting pain in our lives. This is the reason for the cross being the symbol of our faith. This is why we claim victory in the middle of defeat. This is why we proclaim the promise of our coming resurrection from the dead in Christ name.
We can have faith in God because God has given it to us. The faith that has been given to us will see us through every struggle that life throws at us. Let us all have confidence that God will see us through our daily battles. If we do this, we will walk with God’s blessing. We may be limping or scarred, but we will have God’s blessing!
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Earnest Walls