We See Through a Glass Darkly
“How could God let that happen? I thought He loved and cared for His servants. This just doesn’t make any sense.” How many times have you stood by a person that has landed in the pit of deep grief exclaim that a tragedy is beyond human comprehension to grasp? The pain, heartache, sense of loss, and the sudden cessation of all planned activity yields to the news of a horrific accident or tragedy where the life of a loved one has been lost.
When that happens in a Christian circle where we are confident of our Heavenly Father’s love for us, the grief is compounded with confusion. Although we know “intellectually” that bad things happen to good people, we live with a sense that “God would not let anything bad happen to us”. When bad things do invade our family and circle of friends, suddenly our lives are filled with more questions than answers in the fog of the sense of loss that has come upon us so suddenly.
We likely will never know the “why” of a tragedy, but we can begin to see the “how” God can use bad things to do great things in the advance of the Gospel and of the Kingdom.
January 19, 1981, when there were 3,000 languages that still did not have the Bible in their translation, seven armed terrorists burst into the Wycliffe Bible Translators’ office in Bogota, Columbia, and took one of the translators captive. His name was Chet Bitterman, and they held him for seven weeks before shooting him in the head.
Some saw this as a setback to Wycliffe’s work, but Wycliffe’s founder, William Cameron Townsend, saw it differently. He called it a “tremendous advance,” because “young people have been awakened in a new way.”
The fact is soon after Chet Bitterman’s death, nearly 100 students at his Alma Martyr, the Columbia Bible College, pledged themselves to missionary service. Chet’s widow, Brenda, vowed to return to Bible literacy work, and his younger brother, Craig, applied to Wycliffe hoping to become a Bible translator. In addition, a new chair of Linguistics and Bible Translation was established at California’s Biola University in Chet’s memory.
Chet’s father, Chester Bitterman, Sr., made this comment at the time: “On a human level, Chet may have lost his life, but we believe that God is not finished in this. We haven’t read the last chapter yet.”
Indeed not! Now we see that the so-called “setback” only speeded up the process. That’s what we need to pray for today when times are tough. We need to pray that God’s Word spreads even faster. (Copied).
It was John Newton who penned,
“Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come.
‘Twas grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home”.
We will always need grace on the earth until we arrive safely home. We do not see as God sees nor understand the ways of God for, they are “higher than our ways”. Here “we walk by faith, and not by sight”. But one day, our faith will be made sight and we will rest in the fulfillment of the promises of God in our Father’s House.