Our country has been once again rocked by an act of savagery beyond the scope of our imagination. Questions swirl. Politicians seek policy answers. Parents struggle to answer questions from their children. Pastors search the scriptures for a sermon. These days test the hearts and minds of all thinking and feeling human beings. As we pray and as we ponder, one question presses in on us. “What is God’s Mission in this Mayhem?”
First, there is a time to simply sit and weep.
It is appropriate to say, “I don’t know.” Or “I don’t understand either.” Remember the folly of Job’s friends – they thought they knew God’s purposes and that they spoke on his behalf. They did not! There will be days to defend our positions; today is not that day. There is more power in prayer and presence that most of us appreciate.
Second, it is important for Christians to remember that even though the gospel provides the answer to the deepest questions of the human heart, there are questions it does not answer, therefore, neither should we. We do God no favors when we misappropriate His word.
Third, these events do not disprove the scriptures or the love of God, as some suggest. In reality, they affirm the most basic truth of the Bible. If there is any truth we can gain from hurricanes, shootings, terrorism, betrayal, or everyday sin it is that the Bible is more true, not less. The world is broken. People broke it. People cannot fix it. We need a savior. Jesus is that savior.
Fourth, when it is time to speak, speak through the scriptures. Tell the story of Job. Tell the story of Joseph and the betrayal of his brothers. Tell the story of the wickedness of King David and his affair with Bathsheba. Tell the story of the selfishness of Samson. Tell the story of Jesus.
In the mayhem, where is the mission? We answer this question by saying, “God’s mission advances. God’s grace is sufficient. God’s people are his vessels of grace.”
We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.”
Scott Hildreth is the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He frequently speaks on issues of missions, spiritual formation, missiology, and theology. Scott also contributes to SEBTS faculty blog www.betweenthetimes.com