About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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Where Is God?


A young waitress greets you at the door of a popular Manhattan restaurant.  "I've got a reservation", you say.


"Will you be alone", she asks?


"Alone", you reply.


She seats you by a window where you gaze outside at people rushing around as if there's no tomorrow.  Sometimes you wonder just how many tomorrows the world has left.    


As you wait for your coffee, your ear catches the conversation from the table behind you.  Four news correspondents from a variety of media outlets are deep in depressing conversation.   


Jack is seated right behind you.  He shakes his head in bewilderment.  "I can't believe those devastating storms I've just reported on in the south.  Two hundred tornadoes in one day.  Hundreds are killed.  Families are ripped apart.  I saw a lonely little puppy sniffing the dead body of what appeared to be his master.  He looked so sad, but not as sad as a little four year old girl who was draped over the ravaged corpse of her mother.  Where is God in all this mess"?


"I know what you're saying", Patrick adds.  "I was in Japan covering a financial story when the earthquake hit.  The terror I saw on the faces of those poor souls still torment me.  A hundred foot wall of water wiped out the lives of thousands.  Ruined homes and mangled bodies were everywhere.  I saw a dog chewing the flesh off the bones of a lifeless baby under a pile of wood.  Where is God when you really need Him"?


"Well, I guess it's my turn for a sad story", Joel adds.  "The reason why I'm hobbling around on one leg is because I got too close to a suicide bomber in the West Bank.  I was covering a story about an Israeli family who was stabbed and beheaded by two Palestinians.  I went to the West Bank to learn more.  That's when the backpack exploded.  Everything turned a muddy shade of  black.  I woke from the darkness in a pool of blood, my leg blown half way across the street.  I turned to see my camera man.  My best friend was gone.  Enveloped in shrapnel and blood, he was unrecognizable.  I wept. Where was God?  Then I realized, God was nowhere to be found.  He wasn't there.  He never was, and He never will be".  


"We've all got our sad stories", Susan says.  "I was in New Orleans when Katrina hit. I was doing a story on the night life down there.  I figured the best way to cover the story was to indulge, so I did.  It's one big party. There's lots of drinking, and of course, lots of sex.  We heard the storm was coming, but we thought it was just another storm.  So as the old saying goes, 'we ate, we drank, and we were very merry.'  Then the storm hit.  Before I knew it, I was trapped on the roof of our hotel with all my party friends, all but my editor.  He was floating face down in the water below.  We sobered up pretty quickly but it was too late by then.  I don't have a clue where God was.  All I know He wasn't in New Orleans that day".


You sip on your coffee as you listen intently. The conversation is circular.  Susan tells a sad story.  Patrick adds another, Joel another, and Jack yet another, and then it's back to Susan.  The circle of sad stories goes around the table, once, twice, three times, and more.  It's like a tag team relay race, one person hands his sad storey off to the next person.  O the life of a news correspondent.     


Your heart is racing. You know where God is, but should you invite yourself into their conversation?  You can't resist.  "I'm Joseph Armstrong, investigative reporter for World News Tonight".  That catches their attention.  "So you want to know where God is"? 


Joel squints his eyes in cynicism.  "This ought to be worth a couple of laughs".


"Okay.  I understand your cynicism, but you guys raised the question, not me", you say.  "I'll read a couple of Bible passages and then I'll get lost.  Romans 1:21 and following says, 'although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools   Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurities '"


Susan's Catholic conscience cringed as she reflected on the night of immoral bliss in New Orleans.   


You continue to read.  "'They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator Because of this God gave them over '  Simply put, if you don't want God in your life or in your society, He'll split.  He'll just walk away and leave you to your own folly.  No wonder you don't know where God is". 


You turn to Joel 1:13 and following to explain how we should respond to disaster.  "After the devastation described in Joel 1 God says ' mourn wail spend time in sackcloth declare a holy fast cry out to the Lord'.  Joel 2:1 says,  'blow a trumpet sound the alarm tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming a day of great darkness and gloom such as never was nor ever will be '"


"Hey man, I thought you were a news reporter, not a preacher.  I deal in facts, not fables", scorns Susan.


"Hey Susan. You're the one with the questions.  I've got the facts that provide the answers.  'Joel 2:12 and following says, 'even now declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning'.  It's simple.  Search your hearts and minds.  True repentance from your humanistic mindset and trust in God will invite Him back into your lives.  Then you'll know where God is".      


"O, by the way Susan, find yourself a Bible and read Amos 3:6.  You might learn something about disaster hitting a city like New Orleans".   




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