When God Roars…..

For many of us, your author included, our everyday lives are filled with thoughts of family, work, home, and the many other concerns which fill our days. We think far too little, if at all, about God and the obedience we as His creatures owe to Him. In some ways, we relegate God to a secondary existence in our regular workdays, and we put Him at the forefront come Sunday. Monday through Friday, we treat God as a “still small voice” in our lives, and the concerns of this world are the loud and clear drumbeat according to which we order our lives.

And then God roars.

Allow me to explain what I mean by God “roaring”. It’s not a sound, not an earthly one anyway. I have come to think of God’s roaring as His grabbing us, shanking us as you would to rouse a sleeping person, and reminding us that this world is not all there is. He reminds us that we will one day stand before the creator and judge of heaven and earth, and that we need to “redeem the time, because the days are evil” as the Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:16. He reminds us that we are mere sinful creatures and that our days are numbered, and that our days are as a drop in bucket compared to eternity.

God roars in many different ways. When we hear or experience for ourselves tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, or other upheaval of this physical earth, we can certainly hear God roar. When we read about wars and rumors of wars in far flung corners of the globe where there is much loss of life, especially of helpless civilians, we surely hear God’s voice. When financial calamity comes upon us or our employer and we find ourselves strapped to make ends meet, we can hear Him speaking as well. He reminds us in all these things that this life does not consist in the abundance of our things, and we should not place our heart upon these things as ends in themselves.

But I believe we hear God roar most clearly, most sharply, and most painfully when we stand before our last enemy, death and the grave. This is true of any death of a loved one, but particularly so of a sudden, unexpected death. A young wife and mother suffers a heart attack and is taken from her husband and family. A teenager dies in a car wreck, leaving stunned and bewildered friends and family to grieve the sudden loss. A young child suffers a tragic accident and friends and family are left to wonder why someone so young and innocent was taken from them.

In situations like these, we are jolted into reality. We see more clearly than at any other time, that in this life, we truly walk “through the valley of the shadow of death” as Psalm 23 teaches us. And in Psalm 89:48 the rhetorical question is asked, “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?”. When a loved one is ripped from our arms suddenly, these truths of Scripture come into sharp focus, and God’s voice is clearly heard over the din of our daily life. And He calls all of us to “to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12.

God uses tragic events like sudden and unexpected death to do more than just remind us of our frailty, however. Thanks be to God, He thunders this message from the mountaintops in troubled times as well: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. God promises us that if we by His grace repent of our sin, and place our faith for our salvation in the blessed name of his crucified and risen Son, Jesus Christ, we will inherit eternal life. Our salvation does not depend on us, but has already been accomplished by Christ’s obedience and death. It’s all of grace, and all of God.

If this is our confession, we can stand by the graveside of a loved one and proclaim with the apostle, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Victory! Death for the believer becomes only a passage to eternal bliss with God and His church victorious in heaven. I can say it no better than the Apostle Paul does in that pinnacle of Scripture, Romans 8: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Is this your confession? Don’t wait for God to roar. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7.

Categories Articles | Tags: | Posted on October 27, 2012

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