God is kind, compassionate & merciful & desires to do for us that which is “beyond what we can ask or even imagine”. (Eph 3:20) God IS awesome… UNTIL something horrible happens that we don’t understand and it crushes our view of Him. When tragedy strikes we are many times confounded. Yet the bible is filled with chapters, even whole books which most avoid because they go against this incomplete narrative many have about God’s nature and ways. The vast majority of us have been trained that when bad things happen, “God moves in mysterious ways” & “ His ways are higher than our ways”.
While this is true it’s not an adequate explanation.
David had one of those days where he saw a side of God he would rather hope wasn’t there. David valiantly defeated the Philistines(2 Sam 5:25) and was in the process of returning the Ark of God captured by them left at the home of Abinadab for 20 years. David wanted to get the Ark back to Jerusalem. But shortly after leaving, something happened David didn’t understand.
“And when they came to Chidon ‘s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to hold the ark, for the oxen stumbled.And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God.And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah; therefore that place is called Perez Uzza to this day.David was afraid of God that day, saying, How can I bring the ark of God to me?” – I Chronicles 13:9-12
David had a dilemma; trying to serve a God who could “break out” inexplicably and kill someone he was employing to help him get God’s ark back into Jerusalem. It says he was angry and afraid all at the same time. Later he remembered that only the Levites could touch holy things, anyone else would die. (Num 4:15) David later brought the ark to Jerusalem in God’s proper order but he forever had a fear of God he had never known till that moment.
The view of God most Christians have today has been adopted from the church’s 30+ year experiment with “seeker-friendly” Christianity. Weekly, pastors of these churches preach feel-good messages centered around YOUR BEST LIFE NOW! Church attenders rarely hear about hell, the great white throne or judgment seat. The resurrection of the dead is discussed only on Easter. Messages massage rather than confront. The fear of God is OUT and “having fun with Jesus” is IN as leaders censor anything negative or distasteful out of their sermons.
Instead of equipping saints for works of ministry on earth & preparing them for eternity, pastors only focus on the “here and now”. This overemphasis on one side of God’s nature does a great disservice to most, ill-prepared to face the real world. If Christians are only taught we live in a utopian bubble of comfort where God never allows bad in, we have already “taken the blue pill” like in “The Matrix” and are OK living in a world of unreality only occasionally disrupted by truth.
Most of all our difficulties,persecutions, problems and tragedies occur because we live in a fallen world and are fighting a real enemy and adversary that wants to kill and destroy us. Ephesians 6:12, 2 Cor 4:4, John 14:30;
God protects us and will be a shield around us but there are times when there are casualties as in any war. Satan is an evil ruthless foe and wants only bad for any Christian truly serving God. Christians especially in America have a hard time admitting there is actually a real spiritual war going on. It is so much easier to imagine things are another way. While these times test our trust in God, we can’t allow them to move us to abandon hope or quit. We will overcome if we won’t quit. Our biggest hope comes during these times when we will worship the Lord and focus our hearts back on Him instead of what is happening. David also worshiped and he overcame.
We can respond to tragedy in one of two ways: Anger at the Lord and charging, questioning Him-why? Or we can choose the fear of the Lord and realize we serve a holy God who doesn’t ask our permission before He does anything. We are also part of His army and He has an evil calculating enemy who is now our enemy too! While we don’t see or fully understand Him, His ways or His War we can trust and Love Him. He is altogether lovely and good.