Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

July 27, 2012

COLUMN: Aurora, Penn State and God

— This week our world has been rocked by the senseless slaughter of movie-goers in Aurora, Colo., and the sexual abuse of children by a trusted coach at Penn State University. In the midst of such human tragedy, we all ask, “Why?” And those of us who believe in God maybe wonder deep down about God’s whereabouts while all of this was happening.

Christians have always struggled with these three irreconcilable propositions: God is all-powerful; God is all-good; yet, terrible things happen in God’s world. During World War II, Leslie Weatherhead, a Methodist pastor in the heart of fire-bombed London, preached a series of five sermons to help his people deal with their loss and sorrow. The messages were later published in a remarkable little book entitled, “The Will of God.”    

Using the cross of Christ as a paradigm for understanding the will of God, Weatherhead suggests that Jesus' crucifixion was not God’s intentional will. The Father sent his Son so that people would believe him, not kill him. In spite of their rejection, God used Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection to achieve his ultimate goal - the redemption of the world.

Therefore, Weatherhead says, we should think of the will of God in three distinct ways. First, there is the intentional will of God - God’s original purpose was that his creation and our lives should be filled with good, not misery. Jesus said, “It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:14). God has never been the author of evil.

But Weatherhead says we must also speak of the circumstantial will of God. Because of our freedom, we often choose to relate to God, each other, and nature in ways that create evil that cuts across God’s plans. Because we’re all part of the human family, what another does can even create circumstances that disturb God’s good intention for us. Therefore, God has a plan within his plan for dealing with those circumstances that he did not cause such as illness, suffering, and disaster. Paul declares, “God is at work in everything for good” — even the worst. Moreover, in the face of tragedy, God offers us the opportunity to join Him in helping to bring good out of evil.

Finally, Weatherhead asserts that we must look forward to the final realization of God’s purposes, the ultimate will of God. God’s intentional will may be temporarily thwarted but it cannot be finally defeated. Not only in spite of evil, but even by using evil for good, God will reach his original goal. In the midst of the fire we trust that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Weatherhead’s little book, which is still in print, doesn’t answer all our questions about evil and suffering, nor does it take our pain away. But the clearer our thinking, the better we’re able to bear our own load and to come to the aid of those in need.

Julian of Norwich observed long ago: “If there be anywhere on earth a lover of God is always safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in the same precious love.” God is with us in the dark valleys!

“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”

Amen.

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: Do the right thing!

    We seem to be constantly bombarded with complicated situations that call for making an informed decision. Of course, generally, all would want to do the right thing.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    American Profile Magazine pictured Big Tex in its feature about state fairs with the appropriate caption: “Big Tex towers over visitors to the Texas State Fair.” The article also wrote about the many famous wooden roller coasters including the “Classic” wood roller coaster.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: I have been corrected

    I was complaining about President Obama making promises that he has not kept, such as taxes will not go up one dime or health care will go down about $2,500 per year for a family of four. He said he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. He said he would have an immigration plan in place. What he really meant was that if Congress would allow it, we would have open borders.

    July 29, 2014

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Concern for your pocketbooks

    Dear Editor: My message today is to Democrats out in Parker County and the middle class and moderate-income Republicans in towns and rural areas. 

    July 27, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Taking care of your tools

    For much of my life I’ve heard the saying, “Take care of your tools, and your tools will take care of you.”  In our modern “throw away world” this has become much less important than it used to be, but down on the “pore farm,” tools still enjoy a prominent position in my daily life.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • PASTOR POPHIN: The greatest joy of all: Jesus

    The first part of this week was a joyous one for me. I took 10 youth to Lake Mineral Wells State Park for three days of day camping. Camp Adventure was the name of the camp. We discovered the joy of the One who created us: Jesus. I am sitting at my desk on the day after the camp writing this article. I am overjoyed by the events of the week, and yet I am physically exhausted. The Lord moved powerfully among our youth.

    July 26, 2014

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Now is the time for all good men...

    When man’s greed, desire for riches, power and control of our nation become greater than their love of humanity and our country, by constantly fomenting discord and hate among the citizens, warmongering and constantly talking of wars against other nations - it is putting political ideology before the welfare of citizens and country. It is time for We the People to take a good look at these men involved - no matter their status in our nation, we call the United States of America and decide whether or not they deserve the privilege and sanctuary of our nation.

    July 25, 2014

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: Finding a church

    God commands His people to “keep holy the Sabbath Day.” The “Sabbath Day” was changed by the apostolic church to the first day, Sunday. The church refers to every Sunday as the Lord’s Day. Each Lord’s Day is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, a professing Christian will seek to find a local church in which to invest in the kingdom and worship the King! 

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Paul Carter-color.jpg NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: What’s your current address?

    Shortly after we moved to Weatherford 19 years ago, the old post office (today’s Court Building) that was literally bursting at the seams was replaced by a new, larger facility – our present mail center that sometimes seems outgrown as we stand in line to buy stamps or mail a package.  

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Good company, better service

    We would like to thank Devin’s Handyman Service, Gary Boase, David Schramm and James Reed for the wonderful job they did repainting our front fence, front porch, back porch, patio and deck. Everything looks new and makes such a difference in our home.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction