As a result of last week’s firestorm, Colorado Springs joined a list of many cities around the world that have recently known stunning devastation at the hands of nature: tsunami in Fukushima, Japan; earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; tornado in Joplin, MO; floods in Minot, ND, are just a few. There are so many more. We lost two souls; others lost hundreds of thousands. I can’t imagine the weight of that grief for so many.
When our world is on fire, or under water, or when it falls into a chasm in the earth, we come face to face with our own powerlessness and mortality. I’m not sure I have ever felt as weak as I did when I looked out our kitchen window to watch a wall of flames sweep into our city, and then start to blow a huge orange-brown cloud of smoke toward our home.
In our state of stunned shock I, and many others in this area and around the world, went to the place of power beyond our own—to God. We prayed for rain, for the wind to turn direction, for protection for the pleasant community of Mountain Shadows in the path of the fire. God didn’t answer those prayers the way we hoped. The wind picked up speed, the fire roared downhill, Mountain Shadows exploded in fire, a devastated shadow of its former beauty, the rain never came—until a couple of days later bringing warnings of flash floods.
In circumstances like this, and even in the everyday challenges of life, I can think of 4 places to land when God seemingly ignores heart-felt pleas for intervention:
- He isn’t there.
- He doesn’t care.
- He can’t do anything about it.
- He is all I believe him to be; and, a complete mystery.
There are legitimate reasons to choose options 1-3. We have to admit we can’t prove God’s existence, and his silence often feels like apathy or absence. I doubt I’m the only one who has felt this at times.
But it’s in these very times that I, we, need to decide what we believe about him. It’s when He is a mystery that faith is about the only place we can stand; and I stand on option 4. When I encounter God’s mystery in my life, in the life of a local career ministry couple who returned home last week to find their home and a lifetime of keepsakes vaporized, in the life of a parent whose Eagle Scout child gets killed in a head-on crash on the 4th of July, and in the headlines we read every day, it’s then that I simply must stand on who I believe God to be:
- He is good
- He is powerful
- He is paying attention
- He is sovereign
- He feels more grief and agony over the wretched impact of a fallen world than you or I can even imagine
- Some day He will reveal the bigger story…and the mystery will no longer matter
“Be still, and know that I am God…” Ps. 46:10
Where do you stand?
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, their daughter Gemma and son Calvin. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.