Recent terrorist attacks in Paris

Moody Bible Institute

Recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have reminded us that the world is not a safe place. Such events stimulate doubts. Government leaders question whether their security efforts are adequate. Families and friends of the victims wonder if they did enough to protect their loved ones. People of faith may ask why God allows such horrific evil and suffering to reoccur.
James Bryan Smith in The Good and Beautiful God claims that embracing false narratives about our world and God can misdirect and damage our lives. He encourages us to identify the narratives we embrace and ďmeasure them against Jesusí narrativesĒ (p.27). The crowds and disciples who followed Jesus often asked questions that revealed false narratives and Jesus found it prudent to correct their thinking (Luke 13:3; John 9:1)
False narratives were first introduced by Satan in the garden when he falsely claimed that God did not want Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil so that He could prevent them from gaining divine knowledge. Such doubts about the generosity and love of God continue with us today.
Michael Mangis in his book Signature Sins admits that he has both accurate and inaccurate images of God. ďSometimes I experience God as distant and aloof. Sometimes I feel He is weak and doesnít seem to be doing a very good job of running the world or managing my lifeĒ (p. 21). Mangisí confusion is one we all share and when we do we are tempted like our first parents to commit sin in an attempt to take control of our lives fearing God is not adequately meeting our needs. We may become angry and express our feelings in sinful ways because we doubt that God is defending our interests. Or we may act out of a spirit of envy when we doubt that God has adequately gifted or positioned us to fulfill our vocations.
During my late 20ís I accepted a ministry position for which I had been trained and had demonstrated some success in a previous assignment. My supervisor directed me to complete certain tasks that were challenging and caused me to eventually question his wisdom and my own abilities to accomplish what God was directing me to do.
Growing doubts about myself and God ultimately lead me to resent and resist the leadership of that ministry. My rebellious actions directed the mission leadership to dismiss me. I remained unemployed for over a year and experienced deepening depression and disillusionment.
That season of my life also hurt my relationship with my wife, friends and family. By Godís grace I was able to eventually renew those relationships and after some time I was redirected into Christian education that has fulfilled my life beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
I learned during that earlier period that doubts about Godís character and call create seeds of sinful behavior that can have destructive results. When we fail to show restraint because we doubt Godís willingness to supply our needs, we must renew my faith in Godís promises of provision. Rather than allowing inactivity due to doubts about the worthiness of Godís calls, we should be more diligent in trusting that Godís current and ultimate plans are worthy of our time,
talents and treasures.
Letís examine our doubts and the sins that result from them; so that you can better understand and take advantage of Godís promise to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19).

Dr. Michael Orr