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God at Work

I read a story in the news today about a teacher who had an ongoing pattern of sexual abuse of young girls.  It was a terrible story, with no good end.  Yes, he was eventually caught.  But it was only after years of abuse and countless damaged girls.  I wondered as I read it, “How could such a thing happen?”

I’ve been studying the prophets, and noticed that they wondered the same thing when they saw injustice.  Sometimes, to the prophets, God did not intervene when He should.  I often think the same thing.   But such thinking relies on my own understanding of the world, and how it should work. 

Abraham Heschel wrote about the prophets in 1962, “It is hard to see how history and justice are always one.”  He meant that what we see in the world does not seem just.  A man who abuses countless young girls gets away with it for years, and only after the damage is done is he finally caught.

Heschel also notes that the prophet Isaiah had the same question, but said “The Lord will rise up… to do His deed – Strange is His deed; to work His work – alien is His work” (Is. 28:21).  We cannot always understand what God is doing.  Sometimes, bad things happen and no explanation is satisfactory. 

 But for the prophets, God was still at work.  Even in the midst of injustice, He will rise up.  But we cannot always see it.  In the midst of injustice, history is not completely written; God will eventually set everything right. 

Sometimes, we are the victims of injustice.  We are wronged for no reason that we can see.  Bad things happen to us, and we cannot understand.  It makes us wonder if God is truly in control.  This post does not attempt to answer the question of evil, but merely to point out that sometimes, we can’t understand.

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  1. Star McCaffrey
    October 22, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Hey John,
    Just wanted to write thanks for the perspective. Especially since I have always wondered why God allows sexual abuse to children or any injustice to children. It should not hurt to be a child. Council on the Prevention of Child Abuse used to have a bumper sticker with that on it. I had it on my car. It created alot of conversations and ways to let people know how to support organizations like that. Star

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