I hear this all the time. You probably have too. “If there really is a God, then why doesn’t God stop the murder of little children, and starvation, and the rape of the environment and the ebola outbreak. And, damn it, why doesn’t God eliminate toenail fungus while he’s at it?”
The world is a #&%@ mess and God doesn’t seem to notice or care. The idea of a loving God seems ludicrous and cruel. Then, last Sunday, we read this passage from Exodus 3: “Then the Lord said (to Moses), “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the nations. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt.”
It hit me. The problem is not God. The problem is us. God sees the suffering, the misery, the oppression and God hears the cries. God sees and hears what we see and hear. And God is deeply touched and moved by what God sees and hears. Unfortunately, we are often untouched and unmoved. Instead, we identify the problems and then put all the responsibility of fixing the world on God as if God is the cosmic maid–cleaning up the mess. God IS ready to fix the mess. “I have come down to deliver,” God says to Moses. But God then calls Moses to join God in the process of bringing about justice in the world–justice that will bring deliverance. God expects us (as God’s representatives) to do God’s action in the world. We cannot divorce ourselves from the solution. No, if we want things to be different–to be made right–then we need to come out of hiding and engage the powers that are creating the nightmare of injustice. God calls us to boldly go to the source of the oppression, suffering and misery–to Pharaoh. And it’s not like we are on our own. We go in the power and presence of God, I AM.
Moses was faced with a choice: Join God on God’s mission or stay in Midian (comfortable and safe and detached). We too are faced with the choice. But only one option will change the world with God.