4.29.2013

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Each day we are inundated with news of bad things happening in our world, nation, and community.  Often I am asked, “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?”  There is a lot of theology in that questions but in times of hurt, theology does not do much to take away the pain and fear.  How can one wrap their minds around an event like 9/11, the Atlanta Olympics Bombing, the Boston Marathon Bombing and constant terrorism in other countries?  Questions like, “Is God really in control?” “Is God really all powerful, knowing and loving?”  The bigger question would be “Why?” We will not get the answer to that question until we get to heaven. The Bible says that fully understanding God is impossible (Isaiah 55:8) but, through God’s word we can make sense of tragedy in this world.



Four Reasons For Bad Things Happening


1.  We Are Human (Sin) - Genesis 3:17-19 & 22  Sin affects everyone. God’s punishment of sin is more than justification of a wrong action.  Adam and Eve had strayed away from their love and devotion towards God.  They did not “need” him.  Sin reminds us that we are flawed and that we need God.  He created us in His image to be made complete through a relationship with Him.  Evil reminds us of our need for God.


2. We Live In a Sinful World - Matthew 5:45; Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 5:8  Life is not fair.  When it rains outside, the rain does not distinguish between Christians and Non-Christian, it falls on everyone.  We live in a world where evil rains down everyday.  Those that have a relationship with God have an umbrella.


3.  We Are Taught Dependence on God - Isaiah 29:13-14; Proverbs 3:5-6  It is ironic and unfair that we live in a world that has sought to rid God from our schools, government and culture. The moral law that was established by our dependence on God’s word has decayed.  There is no absolute law.  Our world does not want a God that tells them when they are wrong but yet they want his His power and protection. Much like a rebellious teenager, we want God to leave us alone because we know everything but when we get into trouble, we expect His help. Bad things remind us that we must depend on Him.


4.  We Are Strengthened - James 1:2-3; Proverbs 3:11-12  God is so merciful.  Bad things remind us of our weakness.  In those moments He strengthens us.  9/11 was a wake up call to our nation.  In response to such a terrible attack the TSA rewrote the security procedures for flying.  Emergency service learned from the mistakes made in the response to that attack.  Our government established the Department of Homeland Security to constantly monitor threats to our nation.  Our nation returned to God to help heal us and make sense of such a horrible tragedy.  The same is happening in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombing.  Through God we will be stronger. God Strong!

4.07.2013

Introducing Bruno

I have not been able to write on this blog for some time now due to a traumatic loss that Donna and I suffered.  On March 8th we had to euthanize our Lab/Beagle Mix "Baxley" of two weeks short of twelve years.  God gave us Baxley in the beginning months of our work in Wilmington, NC.  I had always been a dog lover and Donna was warming up to the idea.  Many I know think, "he was just a dog", but to us and those that love dogs he was much more.  You see, children were not in the plan God had for us so Baxley filled that void.  In every sense he was our little four legged boy.  In the time span of one week he became anemic and was in need of an immediate blood transfusion before even being able to diagnose the cause of him losing so much blood.  To avoid a long road of pain and treatment that would yield such a low survival rate, we, along with the Vets recommendation, made that hardest decision we have ever had to make as a married couple, to let our son go.



The days to follow would be the darkest I have endured in a long time.  Many friends and family members as well as people from our church were so supportive.  Cards, prayers, poems, phone calls, facebook messages all encouraged us.  I can remember on the Saturday night after Baxley's passing me being overwhelmed with the sense that I needed to pray because I had a full schedule of teaching, preaching, visitings, meetings etc. for that Sunday and I honestly thought there was no way I could go through with it.  Not to mention the text I had scheduled to preach talked about animals dying.  I remember falling to my knees with my head buried in the couch uttering prayers of desperation to my Heavenly Father.  I had not been in a place this low and dark in a long time.  The prayer was not pretty or eloquent.  I just said, "God, I cannot do it, I cannot go to church and act like I am ok when I am not.  The only way I will be able to is in Your strength and understanding because mine is gone.  I need you to hold me because I am done."


2. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, 3 my God, my mountain[a] where I seek refuge. My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge, and my Savior, You save me from violence. 4 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies. 5 For the waves of death engulfed me; the torrents of destruction terrified me. 6 The ropes of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 7 I called to the Lord in my distress; I called to my God. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry for help reached His ears.


You know, it has been awhile since I felt God's arms holding me up like He did during and after that prayer.  I sat back down to the computer to try and collect my thoughts for Sunday.  I went to Craigslist just to see what dogs were available.  I did NOT want a dog this soon after Baxley's passing.  Out of curiosity I submitted a few requests for more information.  Within 15 minutes of that prayer God had directed me to Mike and Amanda.  They were looking to give a way a Lab Mix puppy they rescued because they already had two dogs of their own.  These are the pictures he emailed to me.

Once I saw the pictures, it was like God said, here is your next dog.  We went to meet Mike and Amanda not even knowing the dog's name.  They were a sweet college couple that were getting ready to graduate.  They had big plans for a career but knew taking three dogs would be costly.  They introduced us to Bruno.  We spent two and a half hours talking with them and playing with all three of their sweet dogs.  They told us how they rescued Bruno from a bad situation.  They had already crate trained him, got his shots, medications and potty trained him.  After the night was over, we knew that God had brought Bruno to Donna and I.  I cannot thank Mike and Amanda enough for taking care of this little puppy.  God used them to prepare Bruno for us.  I am always amazed to see that God is at work even when we do not understand or see Him.

Bruno has been with us for a month and already he has made a place in our hearts.  Do we still miss Balxey? Yes, Every day!  Bruno will remind us of things Baxley did but Bruno does have his own personality.  We figured the best way we could honor God for this gift and Baxley's memory was to love Bruno as our own.  We have enrolled Bruno in basic training classes.  Donna and I are having a blast working and walking together with Bruno.  It has taken me a long time to get to the point that I could share this with the world but please know everyone that showed their support, we could not have made it without you.  God used you to hold us when we could not stand. Now may I introduce Bruno to you! 


To read my wife Donna's words on this experience check out her blog post here.