Summary: Have we ever asked Where is God? The answer is simple. He dwells with us.
God Dwells With Us
Many of you would have read the book “Where is God when it Hurts”, by Philip Yancey. This morning, I want to do some thing unconventional and start my sermon by reading from Yancey’s book. After carefully and systematically analyzing the issue of pain and suffering and the biblical answers to the issue, Yancey concludes his book as follows
Where is God when it hurts?
He has been there from the beginning designing a pain system that , even in the midst of a fallen world, still bears the stamp of his genius and equips us for life in this planet.
He transforms pain, using it to teach and strengthen us, if we allow it to turn us toward him.
With great restraint, He watches this rebellious planet live on, in mercy allowing the human project to continue in it’s self guided way.
He lets us cry out, like Job, in loud fit of anger against him, blaming him for a world he spoiled
He allies himself with the poor and suffering founding a kingdom titled in their favor. He stoops to conquer
He promises supernatural help top nourish the spirit, even if our physical suffering goes unrelieved.
He has joined us. He has hurt and bled and cried and suffered. He has dignified for all the time those who suffer, by sharing their pain.
He is with us now, ministering to us through his spirit and through the members of his body who are commissioned to bear us up and relieve our suffering for the sake of the head.
He is waiting, gathering the armies of good. One day he will unleash them, and the world will see one last terrifying moment of suffering before the full victory is ushered in. Then God will create for us a new, incredible world. Ands pain shall be no more.
This book is about pain and suffering. Even if we have not had situations like the ones described in that book, I am sure each one of us sitting here have asked at least once in our life time, Where is God? Generally we ask this question when things are not going well. We hardly have time to think about Him when things are going well isn’t it. Even in the bible, there are many instances where people have asked this question, to one another and to God himself. There are billions of people out there in the world who ask that question even today. I am also sure that all of us, sitting in this church know the answer very well. To regular church goers, the question is a rhetorical one. The answer is not a secret. Hence I will not attempt to answer that question. I will try and reinforce the answer and then try to look at what it really means to us, in our day to day life, in our thought and actions.
Throughout the old testament God has been telling people that He is with us. He told it to Moses, He told it to Joshua, He told it to many others Gideon, Amos, Jeremiah etc etc. He has been calling people to come back to Him. However, the rebellious people did not listen or did not want to listen. Then God put his last plan for salvation of mankind into action. That is the Gospel story. John starts his Gospel narrative by establishing Christ’s identity, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-4. After establishing Christ’s identity, John goes on to confirm that God Dwelt among us . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 14. This was the ultimate proof that God is with us. God could do no more to prove that He is with us.
So, for people who do not know that God is with us, we have many things to say. We have many proofs to give them. But how about us. How about us, who know that God is with us? Do our behaviour indicate this truth? Do we live our lives as if God is with us? That is the question that I would like us to ponder about.
Let us look at some of the things that we do.
1. Some of us behave as if God does not know what we are doing. This is like the Ostrich behavior. The story is that Ostriches bury their head in sand when threatened. The story is false of course, they actually do not do that. Many of us behave in a manner that gives the impression that God will not notice certain things we do. Well there is bad news for us there. The fact is that God knows everything. Everything. Psalm 139:2-5 says