Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer. —Ronald Reagan
Churches are filled with individuals who have experienced abuse at the hands of another. Cancer doesn’t skirt the homes of believers. Loss occurs across faith boundaries. No, the church has its share of those who have lived through more than their share of evil and suffering.
God is good—really good—yet He doesn’t seem to do everything in His power to keep us from suffering. So what does that make God? When bad things happen to His people, does it negate His goodness? If so, how can I dance with that kind of God?
Let’s consider the American hero for a moment. The do-gooder who sweeps in at the last moment, saves the woman or child from danger, places them on solid ground, and then takes off again into the blue yonder.
He wears a cape. He protects people from harm. And then he leaves in a flash. Off to the next do-gooder task.
He’s dressed to impress. He saves. And he leaves.
And he leaves.
The fundamental distinction between a human-fabricated hero and the Uncreated Father is found in the leaving. While God doesn’t promise easy, He promises His presence.
He’ll never take off into the blue yonder. Evil cannot scare Him away. He does not turn His head in our suffering. And it is His arms that break our fall in hard times. He is not a temporary hero; He is love.
Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever.” When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD…
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 118:2-6a, emphasis mine)
God Before me, Behind me, Around me, and In me—mere mortals can do a lot. It’s the nature of abuse and oppression. But evil and suffering have stunted the growth of my trust abilities. Wrap me in Your presence the way a mother swaddles her child—tight, arms secured, so I can grasp nothing other than Your presence. Amen.