I'm not what you'd call an avid book reader. I tend to read short stories on the internet or in the paper or in magazines. Not really sure why, because once I get started on a book, I generally get riveted to the story and jump knee deep into subject at hand. On more than one occasion, my wife Joanne, has said to me, "why don't you grab a book and snuggle up and read.....and get your head out of that stupid television".
While I agree with her, much of my apprehension is that I think I'm a better visual learner than anything else. At least, that's what I've countered with under my breath. But she's right, I should do more book reading because there's a whole new world out there!!
This past week I took her suggestion and began reading , "Should We Fire God". a book written by a young pastor who offered a myriad of questions and answers to the very subject at hand. The timing couldn't have been better. I'm no different than anyone else who struggles at times with God's involvement or lack of connectivity in our lives. Here is the short lead-in to the book: .
"When the worst school shooting in history occurred, Pastor Jim Pace, a Virginia Tech alumnus, was front and center. Media, students, church members and strangers asked him the same question: If God is loving, why doesn't He stop disasters before they start? SHOULD WE FIRE GOD is Jim's thoughtful, reasoned response to the idea that God isn't doing His job very well. In conversational, non preachy prose, Jim explains why God allows pain and devastation to occur-and what the consequences would be if He didn't. And he leads readers to question, if we fire God-who takes His place-woefully imperfect humans? Jim uses real-life examples and his own battles with faith to develop readers' understanding of God, His true role in their lives, what they should do with doubt and fear and what He feels when we ache.
Think back to that April 16, 2007 day. Do you remember the first images that flashed across the television screens of the deadliest shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history? Hour by hour the death count went up....32 in all on the Virginia Tech campus. Another 17 were wounded. Why? Where was God? How could he allow such evil to take place?
Slowly....ever so slowly the wounds have begun to heal. But it hasn't been easy. Pastor Pace was placed front and center to the "where was God" question. And he has tackled it with great passion, compassion and thought. But most importantly, his responses are something that we can all take to heart. They are the words that cross every path we take. Not easy words, but defining ideas that can help offer hope and ease the pain.
Pastor Rick Warren who penned a "Purpose Drive Life" wrote the foreword for Pace's work. He offered these thoughts. "We live in a broken world. Because of that, we've all been brought to our knees by tragedies. What do you do when you're struggling with overwhelming circumstances and emotions? How should you respond when your faith is tested and God seems absent or in no hurry to act?"
So here's my suggestion.....and not a subtle one I might add. Read this BOOK! You owe it to your self, your family and those people who you'll encounter in the future who are asking the question...where is that God of yours?
"If you ask to be adopted by me, I will do so,
And if you seek me- you will find me"-paraphrased by Pastor Pace from Ephesians 1:5 and Matthew 7:7