Recent terrorist attacks in Paris
Moody Bible Institute
Recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have reminded
us that the world is not a safe place. Such events stimulate doubts.
Government leaders question whether their security efforts are
adequate. Families and friends of the victims wonder if they did
enough to protect their loved ones. People of faith may ask why God
allows such horrific evil and suffering to reoccur.
James Bryan Smith in The Good and Beautiful God claims that
embracing false narratives about our world and God can misdirect and
damage our lives. He encourages us to identify the narratives we
embrace and ďmeasure them against Jesusí narrativesĒ (p.27). The
crowds and disciples who followed Jesus often asked questions that
revealed false narratives and Jesus found it prudent to correct their
thinking (Luke 13:3; John 9:1)
False narratives were first introduced by Satan in the garden when
he falsely claimed that God did not want Adam and Eve to eat of the
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil so that He could prevent them from
gaining divine knowledge. Such doubts about the generosity and love of
God continue with us today.
Michael Mangis in his book Signature Sins admits that he has both
accurate and inaccurate images of God. ďSometimes I experience God as
distant and aloof. Sometimes I feel He is weak and doesnít seem to be
doing a very good job of running the world or managing my lifeĒ (p.
21). Mangisí confusion is one we all share and when we do we are
tempted like our first parents to commit sin in an attempt to take
control of our lives fearing God is not adequately meeting our needs.
We may become angry and express our feelings in sinful ways because we
doubt that God is defending our interests. Or we may act out of a
spirit of envy when we doubt that God has adequately gifted or
positioned us to fulfill our vocations.
During my late 20ís I accepted a ministry position for which I had
been trained and had demonstrated some success in a previous
assignment. My supervisor directed me to complete certain tasks that
were challenging and caused me to eventually question his wisdom and
my own abilities to accomplish what God was directing me to do.
Growing doubts about myself and God ultimately lead me to resent
and resist the leadership of that ministry. My rebellious actions
directed the mission leadership to dismiss me. I remained unemployed
for over a year and experienced deepening depression and
That season of my life also hurt my relationship with my wife,
friends and family. By Godís grace I was able to eventually renew
those relationships and after some time I was redirected into
Christian education that has fulfilled my life beyond anything I could
have ever imagined.
I learned during that earlier period that doubts about Godís
character and call create seeds of sinful behavior that can have
destructive results. When we fail to show restraint because we doubt
Godís willingness to supply our needs, we must renew my faith in Godís
promises of provision. Rather than allowing inactivity due to doubts
about the worthiness of Godís calls, we should be more diligent in
trusting that Godís current and ultimate plans are worthy of our time,
talents and treasures.
Letís examine our doubts and the sins that result from them; so
that you can better understand and take advantage of Godís promise to
supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19).
Dr. Michael Orr