“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
UFOs sited in Missouri, a man attaches dynamite to a dog and blows him up (he survived and is being taken care of by a Good Samaritan who renamed him Rocket), a man bites off parts of another man’s face, and the U.N. calls for an emergency meeting to deal with the crisis in Syria. These are just some of the news items of the day.
If I were an alien in a UFO passing by, I would hightail it and find another planet for vacation. On a more serious note, how can we listen to the news stories that bombard us daily and not become despondent?
Many years ago, at a Christian writer’s conference, an editor asked me what I do for a living.
“I provide closed captioning for television,” I told him. His eyes lit up as if there must be plenty of writing material in those juicy stories.
I laughed at him and shook my head. “What good stories can I write?” Frequently, the news leaves me depressed. And if you are anything like me, I’m sure you feel the same.
Nathanael expressed a similar sentiment when he commented about Jesus’ birthplace, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
But my response to that editor has always bothered me.
Can I not find good in the world if I look for it? Does God not bring good out of evil? Can He not redeem the worst story I’ve ever captioned?
Sometimes, when I’m falling asleep at night, I will think back to something I captioned during the day, and I will be troubled. Perhaps it’s Satan’s way of attacking me; if He can make me doubt God’s sufficiency, how effective can I be in my witness?
In my human understanding, I feel or see the pain and suffering inflicted. And while I despise someone else’s gross behavior, what about when I hurt others? Sometimes, I wonder how God puts up with us. How can He not get angry? If I have a righteous indignation in my lowly wisdom, how much more so does God?
That brings me to a recent news story out of Canada. I do not want even to mention the man’s name because I don’t want to give him any notoriety. This criminal allegedly murdered a student from China, cut up his body, and shipped his body parts to various schools and government offices in Canada. He then flew to France and later Germany, where an astute internet cafe employee in Berlin spotted him and contacted the local police. He is now sitting in jail awaiting extradition back to Canada.
While the case is tragic, can I find good in this horrific story?
What are the chances that this fugitive who fled from Canada would be spotted and recognized by another individual across the Atlantic?
This story prompted me to ask, how much news gets shared on the internet, television, and radio? How many people board planes each day?
If you are curious, there are 175 million active users on Twitter. 1,966,514,816 people use the internet, 12 million people watch television daily, 261 million Americans listen to the radio, and over three million people board planes.
These figures are mind-boggling, and when you consider there are eight billion people in the world, you wonder how one person could be significant. Who am I that God should take note of me in my little corner of Northeast Florida? And yet, God doesn’t need a phone, T.V., Internet, or any other device to find anyone.
Each of us does matter to God. How many more people could this murderer (if found guilty of his alleged crime) have hurt were it not for this internet cafe employee in Berlin? I’m sure this man did not wake up that morning and say, “I am going to turn in one of the world’s most sought-after criminals today.”
In I Corinthians 2:7-8, the Bible speaks of God having secret wisdom: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
Paul seems to be saying it was necessary for the religious leaders who crucified Jesus not to understand the gravity of their deeds. Jesus needed to die for our sins. Perhaps that’s a hint for us today when we cry out that we don’t understand. Perhaps God’s ultimate plan is hidden. The burden of knowledge is too great. Only Jesus could bear our cross that He willingly took upon Himself so we would not be condemned.
In Matthew 24:12, when referring to the latter days and the signs of the end of the age, Jesus stated, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
We might think, “Oh, I will always love my neighbor, family, and husband.”
But we see the darkness increasing all around us; we hear horror stories every night, like the burning of Lahaina on the Island of Maui. We don’t understand how something like this could happen. We know those days are coming that Jesus talked about.
Simon Peter said in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Our faith must be strong enough to stand up to the worst of humanity because Satan is relentless. His fate is sealed, and he has nothing to lose. Whenever I start to doubt, I remind myself the Kingdom of God is within me (Luke 17:21), and the battle belongs to the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:15).
God told us what the world would be like before His return through His prophets, so we shouldn’t be dismayed or discouraged. I take comfort in that we live in a world that is not out of God’s control, and criminals can’t escape His eyes. The Powers of Darkness will not prevail. I’m thankful for the increased knowledge to capture criminals, God’s Good Works, and the Kingdom of God within us. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
If someone on another continent can spot an evil man, how much more does God keep His loving and watchful eyes on those who worship Him? I am sure it was not by luck that God used a Good Samaritan to catch this fugitive. May we be comforted that nothing escapes an all-knowing God Who is everywhere all the time.
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, help us to occupy until Jesus returns. May we be faithful in Good Works until that day, looking for Good even in the darkness.