If you have a weak stomach, don’t read the news today.

Reports of violence and death in Syria are today’s headlines. So far, the death toll is 1,300, and I doubt it will stay there before the day is over.

Doesn’t exactly put a spring in your Wednesday step, does it?

The stories report that the forces of President Bashar al-Assad launched chemical attacks near Damascus, taking the lives of as many 1,300, including women and children.

The images you’ll see today are disturbing, and they will make you both physically and emotionally ill.

If you have a weak stomach, read the news today.

It won’t be easy or fun, but you need to do it. You need to know what’s going on in our world. You need to be aware.

Read the articles. See the devastation. Weep with those who weep.
Start here: Activists: Hundreds Dead in Damascus Gas Attack

Then, get on your knees and pray to the Lord who holds all of this in His hand.

That might be the most disturbing thing you think about today. God knew all about this yesterday, and it still happened today. None of it was a surprise to Him. Same with every war, the Holocaust, September 11, and every single baby who doesn’t get a chance to breathe oxygen outside the womb.

It’s true. Everything we experience comes from the hand of the Lord. And that’s not easy to understand by any stretch of the imagination.

We try to wrap our finite heads around it…

…by distinguishing between God’s Decreed Will and God’s Permissive Will. God’s Decreed Will stops armies in their tracks, makes walls of water and dry land from ocean beds, and raises lives from the grave. God’s Permissive Will watches Job’s children perish, sees 11 apostles die as martyrs, and lets entire nations get wiped out by war, famine, disease, or downright evil.

We struggle with God being both active and passive—at least that’s how we perceive it.

We can talk about original sin, world history, politics, cultures, God’s Decree vs. God’s Permission, and even trusting an infinite God with a finite mind.

But at the end of the day, when there are more bodies to count, that doesn’t give us a satisfactory answer to the burning question:
Why?

Here’s the thing:

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

I don’t have all the answers, and I never will. I don’t know why God does what He does, or doesn’t do what He doesn’t do.

But it’s okay to ask hard questions. Search the Scriptures. Find God. Keep asking hard questions. Pray.

But don’t stop reading the news.

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