I did some processing the other day. I walked through some old pain that was stirred up and I asked again the old question, “God, why didn’t you step in and DO something?” Since I have instances in my journey where some were physically/emotionally hurtful but just as hurtful were those that stood by and watched as if nothing horrible was happening. Grrrr! I get all the psychological reasons but how can you stand by and watch? I don’t think I can ever get that.
That gets twisty sometimes when it feels like God stood by and watched too. When I feel like it can make God frightening and unapproachable. Many times I ask Him point blank. “Well, what were YOU doing? What makes you different? I suppose it might sound precocious but I have never felt anything but delight from the LORD for my honesty and directness. He wants true followers. I wouldn’t be true if I buried my questions so as not to be disrespectful.
Sometimes I most relate to the disciples James and John. Jesus called them the sons of thunder. In Luke 9:54-56 after Jesus was rejected by the Samaritans for political reasons maybe? It says this about James and John. “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”” I think fire from heaven would be a good response don’t you? But Jesus said to them in response, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. “
Can Jesus love both the victim and the abuser? Is there a difference? There are many places where God says He hates oppression. Why can’t I see that? I want to see Him step in if He hates oppression! When I really need to see God’s response to violence and oppression I turn back to Psalms 18. That’s a cool Psalm. There He is sending out hailstones and coals of fire. :)
This time though I asked Jesus why He didn’t step in and I got an unusual answer. In the pain that I was processing I felt surrounded by people who didn’t react or step in. I wanted God to send down fire from heaven and burn them all! But the picture I had was of a hostage crisis where the goal is first to rescue the hostages then deal with the hostage takers. I am thinking of a movie called “Inside Man”. In the movie everyone was dressed the same. The hostages and the perpetrators all were given the same suits. Then they were mixed up so that no one could tell who was who.
That reminds me of the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30) where the enemy planted tares among the wheat seeds. The owner of the field decided for the sake of the wheat the tares should be left alone until the harvest. Hmmm, Interesting thoughts as I relate all this to evil and its effect. I know in a field full of weeds the wheat won’t do as well as in a field that has none. But where in the world are we isolated from evil?