We have lost part of the protection of God in our world (after the "Fall" of Adam and Eve), and we live with the result—a world plagued with horror and disease and the atrocities of what one man does to another. Some people consider these things to be evidence that there is no God. However, I think Thomas Merton’s view is closer to the truth, he wrote:
“It is only the infinite mercy and love of God that has prevented us from tearing ourselves to pieces and destroying His entire creation long ago. People seem to think that it is in some way a proof that no merciful God exists, if we have so many wars. On the contrary, consider how in spite of centuries of sin and greed and lust and cruelty and hatred and avarice and oppression and injustice, spawned and bred by the free wills of men, the human race can still recover, each time, and can still produce men and women who overcome evil with good, hatred with love, greed with charity, lust and cruelty with sanctity. How could all this be possible without the merciful love of God, pouring out His grace upon us?” —A Thomas Merton Reader, pg. 40
If God has not extended to you the grace you wanted, the miracle healing, the return of a prodigal child, the freedom from wondering how you will make it until the next paycheck, the restoration of a marriage in trouble, relief from depression or anxiety, or maybe a past hurt such as abuse—if God has not extended you this grace, I humbly submit He has extended you another grace that is just as powerful and amazing. How could our faith remain, even thrive, if not for the grace of God? I think I would have crumbled long ago.
God has protected man throughout the ages by always ensuring there is a remnant who follows Him. We have no way of knowing how many things God really does spare us from, in His mercy. He lets us see the full extent of sin, how awful it is to live without God—and I believe it is in the hope that we will turn to Him, realize He is our only protection and hope. His desire is that we will allow Him to draw us near, to shelter us in His wings, to receive His love.
“Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
What are God’s intentions towards me?
… to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. —Isaiah 61:1-3
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls… —Matthew 11:28-29
Our Response to God…
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. —Habakkuk 3:17-19
Next time Part 6 (the conclusion): God Hears
Grace in Our Time of Need, other posts:
~Part 1: God's Joy
~Part 2: God's Silence
~Part 3: Can I Still Be Your God?
~Part 4: Lies and Truth
~Part 5: God's Protection
~Part 6: God Hears
See also Stories of Hope