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God does not hide himself in times of trouble

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Between suicide bombings in Beruit and terrorist attacks in Paris, there has been no shortage of tragedy in the last several days. To see the evil that men do, the cruelty and cunning displayed in attacks like these… Emotionally, for a bystander like me, sitting in my cozy Canadian living room, it’s draining. To live through it as so many are doing right now is incomprehensible to me.

I can’t begin to understand the heartbreak that those who lost loved ones feel, or the sense of uncertainty that can set in as they wait to see what the international community’s response will be. I can’t imagine having to sit and wonder if there will even be a true response. To sit and see wicked people get away with evil—to watch as human institutions fail us and evil continues unabated as those given over to futility and pride fulfill the desires of their hearts (Romans 1:21)—I wouldn’t blame anyone for being at the end of their rope.

And yet, we cannot abandon hope. Those who despair and lament need the comfort that comes from the final verses of Psalm 10:

Arise, O Lord; O God,  lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none. (Psalm 10:12-15)

As the psalmist calls on the Lord to act, to “lift” his hand and remember the afflicted and to “break the arm of the wicked and evildoer,” he says to all the weary, the faithful and mourning, don’t lose heart. God will act. Remember who he is—remember that he is good. Remember that he is faithful. Remember that he is just. Remember that he commits himself to the helpless and helps the fatherless. Remember that he is the friend of the oppressed.

To the wicked, he says, don’t say to yourself that God won’t call you to account, because he will. Though you sneer now, you won’t for long. God will not let injustice stand. All of us will be held to account for what we do in this life, and all that is done will receive its due. Wickedness will be accounted for until there is no more wickedness to be found in all the earth.

God does not sit back and ignore the evils of this world. God does not hide himself in times of trouble. He is the helper of the helpless. The comforter of those in need of comfort, the giver of rest to the weary, and the just judge of all the earth. He will act—do not abandon hope.

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