Israel announced recently that it intends to kill every Hamas leader behind the October 7 massacre, wherever they are in the world. The IDF knows precisely where Yahya Sinwar, the mastermind of the October 7 terror attacks, is hiding in Gaza.
Why haven’t they taken him out?
Because he is hiding behind a large number of Israeli hostages.
What should we think of a God who allows people to suffer for sins they didn’t commit?
When a nonsmoker gets lung cancer
We understand when choices affect those who commit them. When a smoker develops lung cancer, we grieve for them but we don’t wonder why they are sick.
The Roman Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus’s observation is true to life:
If you accomplish something good with hard work, the labor passes quickly, but the good endures; if you do something shameful in pursuit of pleasure, the pleasure passes quickly, but the shame endures.
However, it is unfair for choices to harm those who don’t make them. When a nonsmoker gets lung cancer from secondhand smoke, we ask how God can be holy when the world he created is so unjust.
David asked our question: “Why, O Lᴏʀᴅ, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1). He then listed the many ways “the wicked hotly pursue the poor” (v. 2) while saying to themselves, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it” (v. 11).
But the “wicked” are wrong.
David prayed: “You do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless” (v. 14).
He doesn’t tell us how or when God will “do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed” (v. 18), but he assures us that he will.
This is because “the Lᴏʀᴅ is king forever and ever” (v. 16). Our doubts do not threaten his sovereignty.
Why “God wants my whole life”
Yesterday I wrote: When you don’t understand God, you should still trust him. Today, let’s take a step further:
The less you understand God, the more you should trust him.
None of us fully understands why God allows innocent suffering. The greater the pain, the less we understand.
However, the worse the pain, the more we need the Great Physician.
Satan wants to use this issue to drive us from God when we need him the most. But when you are sick is when you especially need a physician. You may have lung cancer from secondhand smoke, but you still need an oncologist to treat the malignancy.
Let’s add this fact: the more you trust your life to God, the more he can give you his best. Henri Nouwen was right:
I am growing in the awareness that God wants my whole life, not just part of it. It is not enough to give just so much time and attention to God and keep the rest for myself. It is not enough to pray often and deeply and then move from there to my own projects. . . .
To return to God means to return to God with all that I am and all that I have. I cannot return to God with just half of my being. As I reflected this morning again on the story of the prodigal son and tried to experience myself in the embrace of the father, I suddenly felt a certain resistance to being embraced so fully and totally. I experienced not only a desire to be embraced, but also a fear of losing my independence. I realized that God’s love is a jealous love.
God wants not just part of me, but all of me. Only when I surrender myself completely to God’s love can I expect to be free from endless distractions, ready to hear the voice of love, and able to recognize my own unique call.
Have you surrendered yourself “completely to God’s love” yet today?
“Joy in a Jail Cell” is my exposition of 2 Timothy 3–4, one of the most encouraging sections in Scripture. Here Paul looks back at God’s providential grace and trusts him for a brighter future. I pray it will help you find hope where you need it most today.
Morning news you should know
- Alabama football coach Nick Saban announces retirement
- Chris Christie ends his Republican presidential bid, criticizing his rivals on his way out
- Iowa GOP debate takeaways: Haley, DeSantis pummel each other
- Yemen’s Houthis launch their largest Red Sea drone and missile attack, though no damage is reported
- More teens who use marijuana are suffering from psychosis
- He sings a cappella. Then he destroys quarterbacks.
Quote for the day
The Scottish pastor and theologian Samuel Rutherford (1600–61) observed: “If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for he will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns.”