(Written prior to yesterday’s shooting at Townville Elementary School in our county.)
News of riots ripping through city streets, of gunshots claiming yet another child of God, and another round of seemingly empty promises from politicians. It all seems overwhelming. We — God’s people — are waiting. We ask: Why and what next?
We pray, Lord, have mercy. Maybe some of us have given up on prayer.
Is God still at work? Is God there? Is God even listening?
Yes. God is.
This is the promise that comes to us in the Word, in God made flesh. God is at work, has been and always will be. Even when our noise, our violence, our brokenness threatens to drown out the work of the Almighty. God is there. In Psalm 23, we are not assured of a peaceful, easy life. We are assured that even though we walk through the “darkest valley,” God is with us. Over and over and over again, God tells us through the Word that God will not be without us. The whole of Scripture testifies to this one truth.
Lutheran pastor and Nazi resistor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this in the wake of what he knew to be true about Adolf Hitler’s regime: “I believe that God can and will bring good out of evil, even out of the greatest evil. For that purpose, God needs men and women who make the best use of everything. I believe that God will give us all the strength we need to help us resist in all times of distress. But God never gives it in advance, lest we should rely on ourselves and not on him alone.” [emphasis added]
God is indeed at work — in the world and in us.
The question is, can we see it? Are we looking? Are we listening? Or are we letting the noise and the fear that comes with it overtake us.