In times following global tragedies like the terror attack in Manchester, England, or when we experience personal trauma, it can seem like God is distant. He isn’t present. He isn’t paying attention. He doesn’t care.
Bette Midler summed this up perfectly in her epic hit, “From a Distance,” which proclaimed that, from a distance, the world was blue and clear, beautiful and harmonious, while on the ground we were all at war. While her song sounds beautiful enough to sing as a special music presentation at church, it paints a picture of a God who likes the view from above, and does not engage with the struggles of man.
The reality is that God is not only aware of world affairs, our personal struggles and the pain of the real world, but He is also working through these events to bring in a better world where we will no longer suffer.
Daily Wire podcaster Andrew Klavan discovered this first hand. In his book, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ, he related an experience where he was listening to a New York Mets baseball game on the radio while contemplating suicide. The Mets had won in the last inning, thanks to the heroic effort of a Christian baseball player, who in the post game interview, said, “Sometimes, you just have to play through the pain.”
During the above-posted interview on my radio show, Klavan said that when he heard those words, it was as if the Lord told him, “You have to play through the pain. You are needed.”
That moment was one of the key moments that led to his conversion to Christianity. Reflecting upon that moment, and the moments of his life that led him to Christ, Klavan noted that people live in the real world. There is violence, problems, death, suffering, and fear. In order to reach people, we have to start by meeting them where they are. That involves an acknowledgement of the reality of their situations, but also showing them that God is present during times of pain and suffering, and that he is using that pain and suffering to bring them into a place of glory.
That’s why, even after his conversion, he continued writing suspense-thrillers. That is also the approach he takes with his daily podcast on the Daily Wire.
In times of tragedy, catch-phrases like “give it all to God” don’t carry much weight. What does carry weight is ministering to people during times of tragedy. That involves being there, listening to them, and reminding them that they are not alone.
Woody Allen once said that 85 percent of life is showing up. Let’s show up. Let’s be there for our families, friends and neighbors. Let’s minister to them during times of distress.
And when we find ourselves in distress, let’s remember that God is always present, and always active. He is God when we stand victorious on the mountaintop. He is also God when we struggle through the darkness of the valley. He is the God of the mountain, and He is God of the valley. Trust Him, and know that it will all work out.