Does Anyone Know Where the Love of God Goes?
Note: This Newsletter is not complete. The contents contain thoughts, ideas, and reasons that are only in their nascent stage of development and these concepts will continue to develop, grow, and deepen in the days and years to come.
“Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?” These words written and sung by Gordon Lightfoot in 1976, depicted the tragic end of the gargantuan ship, the Edmund Fitzgerald that set sail on November 10th, 1975 with its crew of 29 men - both still lie on the rocky bottom, 530 feet beneath the surface of Lake Superior.
What went on in their minds as they waited those final moments before drowning?
Life is full of tragedy, and tragedy does occur, often to the most dynamic Christian people.
My wife and I watched one of the strongest women of the LORD we ever knew stand stanch and un-movable in her faith after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. For five years she and her husband chose not to travel the crowded medical road, but the narrow and rough one, ventured only by a few. Through prayer, faith, and a radical diet, they took on this monstrous cancer. They were brave; in the midst of the fire they trusted the Lord. Their lowest moments were like my mountain tops, yet five long trying years later this 82 pound giant in the Lord went to be with the LORD. Why?
The fact is that throughout the annals of history tragedy has left its mark on society. Many of the individuals impacted by tragedy were just as moral and decent as the lady I mentioned. How do we deal with tragedy? One tormented soul screams out: My toil is too great; my demons are far more damnable, repulsive, and vile than the demons in those ignominious reprobates whose life styles are ones of total moral abandonment, in which their domain is hell and their father is satan.
Many are shell-shot. They feel entrapped by the circumstances of the present, the failures of the past, and the fears of the future.
It was Hemingway who said he felt like an old radio tube long after the power had been cut off - cold, alone, and in the dark.
Many used to be in service to the LORD, they were a help to others, and still would be, but how can they hear the heart cry of another when their own hearts are wailing so loud?
Many just want to escape. I heard recently that it’s the baby boomers that have the highest suicide and addiction rate. Today, millions of young people are also trying to escape their problems through alcohol and drugs. Soon and often too late they find drugs and alcohol becomes a snare that seemingly cannot be released and they are pulled down deeper and deeper into the mire.
So how are we to respond? How do we respond when the question is pounding in our ears? “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turns the minutes into hours?” Where is the answer? Another way of asking that question in a less poetic way is simply asking: Where is God in the midst of tragedy? Where is God when seemingly everything learned in Sunday school, Church, Bible study and home groups have lost their depth and have become effete, quixotic, antiquated, and foolish?
When all the theological debates have faded into echoes in the darkened hallways of the Church, when all the religious veneer has been stripped away, when church lingo has muted into questions and curses, and raised hands and ethereal expressions have transmuted into clinched fists and tormented faces, when once bodies prostrated in worship now lay in fetal positions on the floor, because they had no answers and defeat overtook them, where is God?
Tragedy will engender one of two things. Tragedy will make us better or make us bitter. It most certainly will always reveal what is already there, deep inside. Tragedy can squeeze out what’s buried down deep - as we all witnessed in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
There is a word we need to bring into the forefront of this query about the whereabouts of God in the midst of tragedy. The word is trust. Job used it when he said: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him…”
Job 13:15 KJV
But when is trust really trust? When the situation is in line with our own theology? When one does not experience testing beyond the degree deemed necessary? When trust is tested beyond our own definition of trust? Why do children die, old people lose their minds, spouses betray one another, little boys and girls get raped, buildings blow up, bridges collapse, and millions starve to death?
The answer is unsearchable. While many in the Church correctly answer: Because we live in a fallen world, that answer does not soften the blow if you are the victim.
Yet only one answer remains for certain. The answer is: We don’t know! There is not a spiritual nostrum or panacea to all this. We don’t know why God seemingly does not come through on every occasion, but our response must be consistent despite our lack of understanding; our response must never change. We trust. We trust even when there’s nothing left but a weak and defeated scream. We trust in the midst of the fire. We trust even when we’re on fire. We may find ourselves in the choppy icy waters of Lake Superior, we trust, even when rescue appears impossible.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thy own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 KJV
Our job is to trust. But how? How can we trust with no will left – when nothing absolutely nothing is left? The answer is we can’t and we never could. The only thing we can do in our own strength is to curse God and die. You see the victory is not necessarily the result of our prayer, but our response to His answer. It takes grace to trust. It takes grace to have faith. Our first prayer is LORD I need Your grace. If we want to trust we first need to pray for grace to do so. His job is to answer. Our job is to abide, and we cannot abide without His grace.
We live in a world where satan has been unleashed. He may wear the mask of a malevolent Muslim or a pedophile Priest. His face may take on different colors, sexes, and persuasions. He may have a face of an angel, but inside beats the heart of a beast. He has been loosed and he is beguiling and destroying many.
Only when we learn to trust can victory be ours. Victory is not necessarily seeing the miracles manifesting themselves, although that will happen in many cases, but victory is abiding even unto death. Victory is not always seeing the miracle, but to continue to trust even when the miracle does not occur.
At times it seems that the wicked prosper, yet tribulation comes to the just and unjust. The sun shines alike on the freshest and sweet smelling lilies and the foul reeking dung hills.
…For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteousness and the unrighteousness.
Matthew 5:45 NAS
In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider God has made one as well as the other.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 NAS
Tribulation and tragedy will cut open and what is really buried deep within will appear.
The time to trust is now. The time to believe is now and not to wait to see what happens next.
Trust is not a feeling but a commitment and an action - it’s a verb and the verb is obedience. It’s an undying allegiance to God no matter the cost. The action may be delayed and occur in slow motion, but true trust will produce action, even if it’s awhile in coming.
Yeshua (Jesus) said: “I will never leave you are forsake you. If you abide in Him He will abide in you.”
God Has Not Promised
God has not promised
Skies always blue
Flower strewn pathways
All the way through
God has not promised
Sun without rain
Joy without sorrow
Peace without pain
But God has promised
Strength for the day
Rest for the labor
Light for the way
Grace for the trials
Help from above
Sometimes the very thing we run from is the thing we should embrace. God wants to grow us up and it takes some of us much longer then He wants. I am convinced God will use calamity to shape us into His image. Sometimes the most horrendous tragedy can be the conduit to holiness. When we walk in holiness we manifest agape love and thus our relationship is deepened both vertically and horizontally. God often will use tragedy as a scalpel to cut away that which is still alive. It’s paramount for us not to misuse the tragedies of life. They can make us better or bitter, and bitterness will not destroy the flesh but feed and nourish it and make it grow until it is transformed into a Cyclops.
We are on earth to mature into grown children, to learn agape love, to walk in complete trust and obedience, for all our lessons here on earth are to train us for positions so marvelous throughout all eternity. The tree is pruned for a reason and so are we.
…And every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. John 15; 2 NAS
God’s main purpose is to reduce us so He can grow us up and depend totally on Him.
Our intrinsic walk with the Lord is to trust and obey. As far as I could find John H. Sammis only wrote one song. and it came about by the Holy Spirit using several individuals. D.L. Moody was conducting a series of meetings in Brockton, Massachusetts and Daniel B. Towner was in the congregation. During one of the meetings a young man stood up and said: “I’m not quite sure – but I am going to trust and I am going to obey.” Mr. Towner jotted down that line and sent it to the Rev. J.H. Sammis, a Presbyterian minister. Mr. Towner became the composer.
Trust and Obey
Trust and Obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey.
Who was that young man in the congregation? Only God knows. He might have thought his life had no real significance, but he made the correct decision – to trust and to obey and he was used mightily by God.
I believe that God is sovereign, but that does not mean I understand everything about Him and all he permits. His ways are unsearchable and so is His love. I am still learning to trust and I have not even come close to learning to the degree I need to. There is so much flesh that needs to be cut away, so much of Jack Hunter that needs to die. I do not have the answers to many questions, and few do. It would be a lot easier for me to trust if I had all the answers, but I don’t. I can choose to trust, that is an act of my will, however, even that takes His grace
“Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?” It didn’t go anywhere, nor did He. Even on the bottom of Lake Superior we are to trust - not necessarily understand, but trust.
Don’t let the tragedies go by without the lessons learned as painful and heart wrenching as they may be.
David said: “It was good for me that I was afflicted that I may learn Your statutes.” Psalms 119:71 NAS
What is our purpose on earth? One is to know Him.
This was Paul’s prayer.
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death. Philippians 3:10
Sometimes we learn more when we are flat on our backs because we are looking upward. .
There are many kinds of suffering and persecution. Currently Christian persecution is taking place in 51 different countries. It is estimated that 175,000 Christians are martyred for their faith every year and many more are persecuted and are put in prison.
Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of women the world was not worthy) wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised.
Hebrews 11:35-39 NAS
Brothers and sisters we must believe, we must trust, our faith must be real.
Be assured persecution is coming to the United States. I will be addressing this in upcoming newsletters, but know that evil is about to manifest itself as never before. We’re at the epicenter of a great eruption. Islam is not a friend, but an enemy. The President of Iran, Mahmound Ahmandinejad, will be a major catalyst to inflict that evil on the West, Christians, and Israel. The time to trust is now. The great tribulation is lurking and we must be prepared.
Revelation 3:21-22, 2 Timothy 2:12
2 Timothy 3:12, Luke 9:23
2 Corinthians 4:16-18,
Romans 5:3-5, Romans 8:18
1 Peter 4:1, Hebrews 5:8
Now may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless you through His Son Yeshua.
In His Service,
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Note: This author does not capitalize satan.