by Bob Wickizer

The Antidote to Toxic Fear
Bob Wickizer
Job 38:1-11; Psalm 107:1-3,23-32; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41

As I write this sermon today my computer is showing live video and news report from Charleston South Carolina. My stomach is churning and I am fighting back tears. Pathetically we are all fatigued by massacres so much that whether the shooting takes place in a school, a theatre or in a church we watch the news cycle for a few days and then go back to our busy lives. Nothing changes as a result. But I wonder if we stand back for a minute and look at ALL these tragic situations as an invitation to change, to get involved and to become part of the kingdom of God.

To take this approach means we have to do something with the idea that God causes suffering for a greater cause. We instinctively draw back from the idea of joining God and human suffering, but look at the bible a bit closer. Pharaoh's chariot drivers did not have a good time when the Red Sea drowned them. The Hittites, Perusites, Jebusites and Canaanites were all conquered and many slaughtered as the Israelites moved into eretz Israel (the land of Israel). They surely suffered. Our Hebrew Bible reading from Job this morning is in the closing interrogatory where Job has suffered all kinds of losses and God thunders at him ''Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?'' Always a good question, but Job suffered huge losses and health before he was allowed to reach this point. And in the greatest scene of suffering in history, Jesus himself suffered and cried out from the cross, ''My God, my God why have you forsaken me?''

Most of the disciples were martyred. Many were crucified. Peter was crucified upside down. Christians for centuries after the resurrection were martyred and in many cases their martyrdom actually increased the spread of Christian faith. And then we turn our camera of history on the 20th century where over 100 million Christians have been executed because they we ...

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