2 Jun 2016

Why doesn't God rescue us?

She sounded urgent. When she finally arrived in my dorm room, her face told me she was troubled. Then she told me that she was nearly date raped. He was a Christian guy she had met on campus. She was a very young believer herself and thought it was only right to go out with a fellow Christian. Through teary eyes, she asked me, "Why didn't God stop it? Why didn't He rescue me?".

I had no answer for her. She was the star student, extremely beautiful and of a gentle, quiet disposition. She would never have baited him. I hardly knew the guy and my thoughts turned towards vitriol for him.

Why would a good God let a nice girl like her end up with a trauma like this? She certainly didn't deserve it. I had no answer.

This was nearly thirty years ago.

But daily as we are bombarded by tough stuff, witness outrageous evil, see senseless violence, hear and read of the sacrifice of children to neglect, greed, injustice and oppression; we are all hoping, and wondering why God doesn't act to stop any of it.

Chernobyl, taken off Telegraph.co.uk

Just last month, I came to know of this prominent Christian businessman and leader's teen daughter who was gang raped when their home was burglared. Even as an adult, married with children, she tears up as she shares about it.

There are some things we will never forget.

To be sure, it could become her story - the girl who was raped. But her story was larger than that. It could become the headline that would hog and overshadow everything else about her; she could go through life forever broken, limping, and aching over it - fearful of men, dreading her future, hiding from God, herself and others. But it didn't.

Thankfully, it didn't for my girlfriend too. She too married and has a beautiful daughter.

Perhaps, God did rescue them.

I remember once when I was in anguish over some losses in my life. I heard God say to me that I had to walk through it. Then I saw this picture of a helicopter lowering a ladder to rescue someone from the top of a roof as a fierce deluge raged on all around. God contrasted it for me: I felt I was drowning and I desperately wanted to be airlifted out of my situation. But God said to go through it. I cried some more....until I realised that God was saying also that it will not last forever. I just needed to be brave, to soldier on; not avoid or wish it away. And then these familiar words:

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For You are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me." ~ Psalm 23

Strength and courage comes when we stop fleeing and turn to face what's before us.

There is such a thing called The . Necessary . Journey. It is the months or years we must endure in order to grow up:

1. we become aware of how naive we are
Just to assume that a person has the label "christian", "leader", "popular" means they are desirable, suitable or safe is plain naive. Persons are complex. We have to take time to know them.
Equally we can be naive about ourselves. Some of us will refuse to admit to our weaknesses and demons properly. We say it lightly and glibly and allow it to lurk around. They will take us down; we must be brave to face it. We must admit to how much we fear peer pressure, desire attention, compromise our ethics or values. Without a true admission and a devotion to go the other way, we may set ourselves up for a weak faith and life.

Truth and authenticity happens when we accept who we are and admit that we need to grow.

2. we see the world with clearer eyes
When I first read Hobbes' take that life is "brutish and short" I recoiled at it. But time has proven that philosopher quite right. Our brightest and best moments are fleeting. Some opportunities won't knock twice. We are incapable of making perfect decisions. Others have their own reasons, hurts and distortions though which they view life.
Equally, life shimmers with a strange light as each new day dawns. Often, our worst nightmares don't materialize. Strangers show us kindness. Hobbes got it half right then. There is Grace, there are miracles, there will be surprises.

Hope and Persistence grows within us when we realize that we can stand on Grace.

3. we make the defining choice of what to base our lives on
Everything can turn in so many ways. Change is always possible. A new trajectory or the old one with a wholly different outlook. We can choose trust, faith, rising up again. Or we can run, hide, cower, blame. We can be honest, brave, real or fake it.
We can turn to God and depend on Him or continue to try to make it on our own. The direction, colour, texture, and message of our lives emerges out of this most critical of all decisions.

Meaning and Purpose, Security and Generosity develops and impacts others as we continually renew our trust in God.

I still ask God sometimes, "just do something!".
And sometimes He asks me back, "what would you like to do about it?".

God still asks the best questions.

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