Humans weren’t designed to know everything that’s happening in the world all the time: the despair, the suffering, the trials, the overwhelming injustices and the immensity of the problems in our modern industrialized, global society, can easily topple us emotionally and even spiritually. The Internet and its various information-pushing innovations over time, have all made it possible to know the massive tragedies in other countries, in real-time, in such a way that it can almost feel like the world is ending. All the time. Man can’t bear the weight of such knowledge.
Living between the first and second advents of Christ, caught between the already and the not yet, as His people, ours is an assured hope, wrapped up and summarized in the words of Christ: “It is finished.” And yet it’s a hope that contains an honest recognition of the present realities of the corrosion and decay ushered into the world by a single act of defiance against the rights of our Creator, transmitted and carried down through successive generations, even us, even me. It recognizes that the “not yet” aspect of our daily lives is all too real.
“I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts. Its easy to talk oneself into a decision that has no permanence – easier sometimes than to wait patiently.” – Elisabeth Elliot
It is in times of distress and suffering that the deep questions come to mind concerning suffering and the goodness of God. Is He really for me? What are His purposes in this? Why is this happening? If He’s all-powerful, why does He fail to act? How can something so horrible happen to [fill in the blank]?
Something worse than famine and drought (from today’s Advent readings in the Book of Common Prayer Lectionary):
 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the LORD.
 They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it.
Amos 8:11-12 ESV
If you ever had any hope of trying to please God with your good, moral behavior, put that notion to rest. Psalm 14:2-3 should lay you flat.
3They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
How then will you be able to stand in the last day, when God judges the thoughts and intentions of the hearts of all, when all must give an account? Especially in light of the passage above, that there are none righteous?