Let’s be honest for a minute. As more and more atrocities of violence occur in our country every day, many people have thought the question, "Where is God?” Struck with the raw emotion of having a gunman walk into a church or a concert or drive a vehicle into a crowd of people and kill innocent men, women, and children, at some point the question of God’s presence crept into people’s thoughts. Many of us are still in shock and horror that such tragedies could ever occur, and as we come to grips with the scope of what is happening in our country, that nagging question will continue to creep into our thoughts until we deal with it and learn the truth.
Although the fact it’s almost the Christmas season makes dealing with tragedies seem even worse, it seems appropriate that it is the season of Emmanuel – God with us. When Jesus was born, He came to offer hope to a world without hope and peace. The key word being “offered.” God has never forced Himself on us. That is the big difference between people and animals. When God created us, He chose to give us the gift of freewill. An animal doesn’t have this gift. When a skunk feels threatened, he will emit an odorous spray. A spider will make webs and catch insects. Fish will swim. They don’t get to choose to do something different if they get bored of being what God created them to be. Yet it’s not that way with people. People can use this life to do whatever they want – whether it’s right or wrong, good or bad. We can choose to worship God or deny His existence. We can choose to be a teacher, a rock star, or even a murderer. We can choose to use our lives to do some good in the world, and unfortunately, we can also choose to do evil in this life and harm others. That is why Jesus came to this fallen world when He knew people would hang Him on a cross to die. He came to forgive our sins and show us a better way. He came to point us to God.
Yet people continue to reject Christ and His free gift of salvation. Because of this, there is still evil in the world. But even beyond that, our country has told God we don’t want Him. We’ve taken God out of schools; we’ve taken God out of the government; we’ve taken God out of our entertainment; we’ve even taken God out of sporting events. Sadly, even some churches are stepping away from the truth of God’s Word because its message isn’t popular with society and may offend someone. As a nation, we have told God He isn’t welcome, and because He’s a gentleman and won’t force Himself on anyone, God has stepped back. What we’re seeing right now is what happens when we remove God from the equation. Evil prevails and dominates the hearts of men.
“But Zion said, “I don’t get it. God has left me. My Master has forgotten I even exist.”
“Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you—never. Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of My hands. The walls you’re rebuilding are never out of my sight.” ~ Isaiah 49:14-16 (The Message)