Dr. Foster H. Shannon
We live in a dangerous and difficult world. There is too much violence, too much hatred, too much meanness. Isis in Syria and Iraq and Boco Haram in Nigeria are the epitome of evil. The drug traffic that is doing devastating harm to Mexico is supported by Americans (and others) who purchase illegal drugs—not caring a whit regarding the damage that they do to their neighbors in the south! France and Belgium and other countries in Europe are struggling with radical Muslim terrorist groups. We worry that more of the same may come to the United States.
Our newspapers and television and radio are full of reports of murder, violence, and thievery every week.
Some of the Psalmists looked out at the world of their day and asked if God had forgotten them; they complained that he seemed distant. And yet after their complaints, they turned again to God affirming his goodness and authority and power.
The Bible is filled with many assurances that God wants to help us. Indeed, that he is near and desires to help us. Plaintive calls like those below are found frequently in the Psalms—yet such Psalms inevitably conclude in affirming the greatness of God and the wonder of his mercy.
“O God, why dost thou cast us off for ever? Why does thy anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?” (Psalm 74:1) “For thou art the God in whom I take refuge; why hast thou cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? (Psalm 43:2)
The promises of God, like the following, are wonderfully rich:
“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you. I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
The Bible gives correct assessments of our times, making plain the source of the trouble:
“For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of the present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The Bible also assures us that sufficient resources are at hand:
“Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day…having girded your loins with truth…righteousness…the gospel of peace…the helmet of salvation…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)
“I am the door, if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:9,10)
An important element of faith is trust in God. That trust includes living in accord with his teachings. He promises not to leave us or forsake us.