At a tender age I was easily upset by cruelty, so wildlife programmes featuring suffering and a struggle for survival would make me cry.
A few days ago, these feelings resurfaced when I discovered a blue tit had fallen to its death in my backyard. Stunned, I stood and watched the nesting box from where it had fallen and made the shocking discovery that sparrows had invaded the box and ousted its residents.
As a child I wondered how camera crews making nature programmes could just stand inactive in the midst of suffering.
Truth is, as an adult, I have also wondered how God can watch people struggling and apparently do nothing. I think the answer lies in the word ‘apparently’.
Sometimes we make unwise choices, other times we are unfortunately caught in the slipstream of other people’s destructive decisions, and all this can impact on our emotional wellbeing. Meanwhile our physical health, and the health of the earth, is a complex interaction of the variables of nature and nurture.
I believe that how we react to life, shapes our soul. We have a choice, to become bitter or better. Although we are not controlled by God, God is not unmoved by our folly and waits to be invited into the heart of the matter – in our souls.
Inviting God in doesn’t mean our circumstances instantly change, but that our characters change and grow.
Soul growth is a slow process and requires the right conditions – honesty, silence, patience, and time.
John Ortberg writes:
“If you ask people who don’t believe in God why they don’t, the number one reason will be suffering.
If you ask people who believe in God when they grew most spiritually, the number one answer will be suffering.”
The good news is that nothing is news to God, and no situation and no one is beyond redemption.
In our souls we come home to God, so may we avoid being like the sparrows, who intent on feathering their nest with no regard to the blue tits, left a trail of destruction in pursuit of significance and security.
Truth is… Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him (Ephesians 3:17)