As I was doing routine maintenance on my webpages, I came upon one of my oldest postings, published online in 1990. In those days, before there were operating systems with wonderful GUIs and tons of bells and whistles, I connected with the world via a Bulletin Board System (BBS). No graphics in those days. All the user had before him was a small black monitor displaying little white characters. And our computers ran at single-digit speeds.
As I updated this old post, I was overwhelmed by the same emotions that led me to compose it so many years ago. I believe that the points I struggled to make in this article are as valid today as they were 17 years ago. Should the reader disagree, I beg your indulgence.
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God's Will and the Deaths of Two Little Girls
Occasionally, events occur that are so horrible it is difficult to understand how God can allow them to happen. Of course, it is not God who permits these atrocities, but man. We have created a permissive society wherein violence and immorality are norms. How can we so offend out gracious Lord?
Two such events occurred in San Antonio, Texas, near the end of Summer, 1990. Two little girls were kidnapped in broad daylight. Both were later found, raped and murdered. The double kidnap-murder shocked the residents of this violent city.
A major effort was mounted to locate Heide, the eleven-year-old girl who was the first to be taken. Literally thousands of searchers scoured the area around her suburban home, but to no avail.
Then, little Erica was taken from in front of her public housing project home. Only a few friends and neighbors and, of course, the police, searched for this child of poverty.
Both little girls were found, only a day apart. Both had been murdered.
Only my Father in Heaven could understand how I felt when I learned of the horrors that had been perpetrated on those little girls before they died.
Sure, I felt sorry for the parents of little Heidi and tiny Erica. As a father and grandfather, I could imagine the pain and worry that had filled their every moment. As a human being, I could feel outrage that such a thing could happen. As a Christian, I could join my prayers with those of other faithful in the fervent plea the little ones would be found unharmed. As a recently-saved Christian, my not totally dead old man could desire terrible retribution for the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
But none of that worked, did it? Not the sympathy, not the outrage, not the thirst for vengeance, not even the prayers had done any good. The little girls still died horrible deaths. If I were not confident of my God's perfection, I would agree everything was a waste of time. But I know God is not a liar.
In Romans 8:28, our Lord assures us He has things under control. Whomever God calls, He takes care of. And God is not a liar.
Sometimes it is so very difficult to understand how some of the things that happen to and around us can result in good. I confess great difficulty in understanding how suffering can be a good thing. But God is not a liar.
How could the suffering and death of two little girls work for good to anything? How could the anguish of grieving parents and relatives serve any good purpose? How could the sorrow and anguish I experienced forward any plan of God's?
The truth of the matter is we really do not know the answers to these questions. All we know is that our Lord told us all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called to His purpose.
But what about the power of prayer? Thousands of believers prayed for the safe return of those two little ones. And did not Jesus Himself tells us that any time two or more agree, what we ask will be granted?
God is not a liar! He can answer prayer in many ways. He can respond with "Yes," or "No" or "Wait a bit." We must understand that Jesus said God would grant the petitions of grace-filled Christians who were operating within His holy Will. Look to 1 John 5:14 for a confirmation of this, or check out James, Chapter 4.
God certainly is not foolish. He likely would not use His mighty power to satisfy the frivolous entreaties of either pagans or professing Christians. Is the Almighty Lord really concerned with the outcome of a high school basketball game? Would it be a righteous application of divine strength to support a teenage boy's efforts to conquer the virginity of his date? Should God purpose to help the wicked? You might read Proverbs 28:9 and 21:13, as well as Psalm 66:18, for clues.
In other words, God let the little girls be savaged because everybody who prayed for them was sin-filled and wicked. Right? Not at all. I simply suggest that there are reasons behind everything God chooses to do or not to do. If, in His perfect love and perfect wisdom, He chose to allow these atrocities, despite all the prayer and supplication to the contrary, He surely had good and divine reason for doing so. God is not a liar, and He assures us that all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Somewhere, sometime, in God's perfect scheme of things, it all will come together. We are not given to know our Father's every thought and plan, but we do know He loves us. And we know His love is perfect. He is not perverse and given to venting His rage against the innocent. As surely as we hold the certainty of salvation, we must believe what happened to those little girls will in some way fulfill a requirement of God's Will.
What about the little girls? I am convinced of God's perfect justice. Perhaps those little ones had not attained the age of accountability before God. Perhaps they had been given the opportunity to confess Jesus Christ as their Savior. Perhaps one or both cried out to Christ in pain and terror and their souls were whisked away on angels' wings. I know God loves children and I hope that He would not deny them the possibility of spending eternity with Him.
What happened were terrible, loathsome crimes of the most barbarous nature. Nothing I, or anyone, might say could dull the knife-edge of pain that must still torment those distressed parents. Nothing in this world. We must seek solace outside our flesh. We must look to God, Who causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
"Work together for good.......?" Yes. If we cannot believe this part of God's holy Word, then we can believe none of it, for if God lied to us in this matter, everything in the Bible could be a lie.
And God is NOT a liar.