Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 115:1-3:
“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
Why should the Gentiles say,
‘So where is their God?’
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.”
On a summer day, a bus carrying teens back from a week of camp hurtled into a concrete barrier in Indianapolis. Confusion filled the scene as thick as the smoke ascending from the wreck. People were asking what had caused it, who was responsible, and who was now gone. A youth sponsor. The youth pastor. His wife. An unborn child. Taken immediately to the gates of Heaven. Leaving behind a mess of people full of questions.
Among whom was me. Like most of you, I knew people directly impacted and wanted to know more. On CNN, I found an article and scanned it—all the way down to the comments section. I know, I shouldn’t read comments on articles. But I did—and it rocked my faith forever.
What did I find? Cynicism. Nihilism. Negativity like I have never faced before. “Ha! Those Christians believed in that fantasy in the sky, and look how that turned out for them!” “I bet they prayed right before they left, and look how their supposed ‘God’ answered!” “Now where is that God of theirs?!”
Surprising? It’s nothing new—people apparently said such things back when Psalm 115:2 was written.
And from that moment on, I could not be an atheist.
Why? Because of the cynicism of the heathen. When the worst things happen, it’s not the Christians who are left crushed, despairing, and beyond hope. Yes, there is much pain—beyond ability for me to describe—but it is not hopeless pain. We have somewhere to look for answers. But the “Gentiles”—who can they look to? “To me, to ourselves—yes, to man, give glory!” They have no one to praise but themselves, but in man they find no mercy or truth to comfort them. All they have left is raw cynicism and pride.
And sometimes, we Christians try to dabble in that. Maybe you’ve found yourself echoing up to a seemingly empty sky, “Where are You, God!? How could You let this happen!?” You doubt His ability and tell Him that you will figure out this mess without His “help”—that you deserve the glory. Oh, how I know I struggle with wanting that glory—wanting to do it on my own! But we too, even as His children, are left with nothing but broken pride and tears.
But what do you as a Christian really have left? After all is left bare by storm and grief? After yet another tragedy—yet another death? We are left with verse three: “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” Dwell on that. Read that sentence over and over again until the truth shakes the core of your being.
He’s enough. And while comment sections burst full of “So where is their God?” our mouths can burst forth with “Not unto us, But to Your name give glory—because of Your mercy and truth!” Even in tragedy? Yes, because God remains what He’s always been: God of Heaven. Sovereign.
-Matthew W., SC