Summary: To adequately answer the question calls for the willingness to embrace three critical concerns.
A. Star Over Bedlam
If I were to choose one word to describe 2001, I would have to choose the word bedlam. 2001 started in confusion with the presidential elections and it ended with the insanity of Osama and his followers in Afghanistan.
In a word: Bedlam--total confusion and insanity. The Bible keeps trying to tell us we are not all alright but we keep turning a deaf ear. So I choose Bedlam. And I do so with good reason.
You see the word bedlam has been used for insane asylums for centuries. In fact Bedlam is the name of the world’s oldest insane asylum. It is in England--you can go there today--in the town of Kent. It dates back to 1257, almost 750 years ago.
But it has not always been called Bedlam. You see Bedlam is a mispronunciation of its real name: Bethlem. The Bethlem Royal Hospital it is called. Originally it was a religious house established by the Catholic Church. In the 1500’s it became what it is today. A home of the mentally ill.
How in the world do we move from Bethlehem to Bedlam? God burst on the scene with angels announcing his birth, shepherds telling the story, the wise men from the east, the bright star, and the baby in the manger.
No sooner are we acquainted with this child of peace, then we are introduced to Herod the murderer. How do we move so far so fast? We desperately need a star over Bedlam today.
B. Where Is God When It Hurts?
1. A complex question with no simple answers, and the whole world is asking.
2. READ James 1:2-12.
3. To adequately answer the question – Where is God when it hurts? – calls for a willingness to embrace three critical concerns:
II.3 CRITICAL CONCERNS:
A. A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW.
1. When you give your life to Christ, He intends to change the whole of it, and that really begins with the way you view the world in which we live.
a. It’s called our “world view”, and the human view of the world and its issues it is totally different from God’s view of it.
b. The view we’re born with is broken and sin-filled.
c. God desires to redeem that broken view and show you a different way.
2. That different way is not necessarily easier (and is in some ways harder), but it starts with what the Bible teaches us about God and His life in us.
a. How to live it the way He intends in order to produce a fruitful life that abounds in fullness of life.
b. And that has everything to do with what to do with where God is when it hurts, because the truth is that we cannot fully know the answer to the question in this lifetime.
c. And that’s one of the hardest things in this world for any of us to deal with – too much uncertainty for our human minds and hearts.
3. A Biblical world view is a different way than we’re used to, rather than a non-Biblical world view.
a. A secular, non- or little God-involved world view says we have to have the answers to trust the direction.
b. Having the answers is great, and sure makes me feel a lot better, but folks, if you’re waiting to trust Christ until you have all the answers of life, you’ll miss the boat!
4. It’s a view that you either choose to trust or not trust, without knowing the final answers!
a. Truth is we humanly cannot see the end of things as God does.
“Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything in perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)
b. It’s like this – a parade is going by on the other side of a fence from you.
c. The only view you get of the parade is through a knothole in the fence.
d. But God’s view is from above – He sees all its events simultaneously, from beginning to end.
5. His Word makes clear that His love is so great that He doesn’t want to see anyone die without Him – yet the imperfection of humanity will not see it come to pass.
a. We get so caught up in trying to figure out the end result before we trust God that some will be left behind still trying to figure out whether or not Jesus has really come again after it’s already happened.
b. That’s what happened, and is happening today, after His birth. Many still don’t believe, after His birth, death and resurrection, that He really is the Savior of the world.