The title, of course, comes from a book by my favorite author, Philip Yancey. Here is an excerpt he posted earlier today. So honest, yet so encouraging!
:: I’ve been writing about pain and suffering for four decades. In view of the current crises in our society, I’m posting a few relevant excerpts from my books:
In a discussion on “God’s will,” the theologian Leslie Weatherhead proposes that we picture a stream running down the side of a mountain. We can dam up that stream and prevent its flow toward the valley below, but only temporarily. The law of gravity requires that water at high elevation will eventually make its way down. Similarly, God’s ultimate will cannot be thwarted. Though human history with all its evils may place many blockages in the way, in the end these will be overcome. God will get his family back, on an earth restored to something resembling its original state.
On this planet, for this time, God allows us to be put in harm’s way. Buildings collapse, tectonic plates shift, viruses proliferate, evil people resort to violence. From what we know about the character of God, none of these things reflect his intentional will. Nor, if we believe God’s promises, do they reflect his ultimate will. In the meantime, though, the time in which we spend all our days on planet earth, bad things will happen.
In creation God works through matter. In redemption he acts through personality─through ourselves. In the face of tragedy, I can respond either by blaming and turning against God or by turning toward him, trusting him to fashion good out of bad. One option focuses on the past and closes off the future. The other option opens the future, allowing an Artist to use everything that happens as the raw material for a new story, different than it would have been without the tragedy or failure, but in some ways even richer, redeemed.
- ~ Adapted from “Reaching for the Invisible God”