A nationally recognized newspaper recently said of the latest tragedy, “God Isn’t Fixing This”…and the people in your ministry are angry.
They’re ranting on Facebook and other social media.
They want all the so-called “godless liberals who are destroying our country” to be run out of the country.
They’re tired of hearing God mocked as evil seemingly triumphs once again.
This time the source of mockery is a 96-year-old bastion of journalism, The Daily News, based in New York City.
Responding to the tragic shooting in San Bernardino, many public figures, including an array of politicians, have been quoted as saying some variation of, “Our prayers are with the victims and their families.”
In an apparently politically motivated attack, the front page of the December 3rd Daily News trumpeted, “God Isn’t Fixing This” as it derided these politicians with their quotes about prayer. In the process, the newspaper has also ridiculed every Christian who believes not only in the power of prayer, but in a sovereign God who is in control of the events of history.
While it appears our sin-sick world is about as far from God as can possibly be, the truth is, creation is still accountable to its Creator. Someday, Jesus—the One who came as the Lamb of God and died to redeem humanity—will return as the victorious Lion of Judah.
Our difficulty is that, from our perspective, He can’t come soon enough. We see sin and suffering multiply and corrupt everything around us. We witness the indiscriminate loss of lives, whether babies still in the womb or volunteers at a non-profit Christmas party. We ache for those hurt by broken marriages and families. And even as Christians, we find ourselves longing for God’s timetable to move just a bit faster.
But as someone once said, “faith in God includes faith in His timing.” God is still in control. The Bible tells us that “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9 NIV).
In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, we’re reminded of the words of the beautiful Christmas hymn, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Two verses in particular seem especially relevant today:
“In despair I bowed my head:
There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Sing these words with the assurance that God is indeed not dead and does not sleep. Encourage the people in your ministry to remember that all history is working to the culmination of God’s plan for history. That the most godly response to those who mock God is not to condemn them to a deserved hell, but to speak of eternal judgment with a broken heart and a tear in their eye.
And with all due respect to the Daily News and other mockers, perhaps one more word should be added to their headline: God isn’t fixing this…yet. Someday, Jesus will return and evil will be conquered once and for all. The bigger question is, how can we help those in our ministries be ready when He does?
Ava Pennington is the author of Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur. In addition to writing, she teaches a Bible Study Fellowship class.