16 June 2020

Where was God when that happened?

Dear Church Family,

A church member said to me recently how blessed they have been reading a book by Christopher Ash called: ‘Where was God when that Happened?’ Last year many people in our church picked up this book or were given it. Many have already read this, but it is a book I would recommend re-reading during this period. 

                                                              

Ash answers the big questions around suffering and the sovereignty of God in a really easy to understand and theologically sound way. Understanding these things helps us at the moment in two big ways:

  1. We are living in a time of much uncertainty and when death is at the forefront of peoples minds. This book would not have to change its content if it changed its title to: Where was God when Covid-19 happened? In reading this, we can grow in our own understanding of “God’s goodness, power and the way he works in the world” (to use the books strap line) in the current situation in which we live.
  2. Secondly, understanding these truths will give us something helpful to say to our neighbours who are also dealing with the same uncertainties that we are, just without the answers that we have in Christ. This book will help us be equipped to point them to Jesus.

The way this book deal with the questions around suffering is by re-orienting our focus to the God who is far greater than we can ever comprehend. In Ash’s words:

“God is not a bigger, stronger, cleverer version of us. His greatness is not comparative; it is not even superlative (the biggest, strongest, cleverest version of us). No, God is utterly unlike us; completely different to us; beyond us in every possible way, not just a measure but in quality (P20)”

But, in showing us the awesomeness of God, Ash does not lose the fact that we are loved by Him as our Father:

“Jesus teaches that the one who is in control of the universe is the Heavenly Father to all who will trust in Him... There is no more wonderful discovery a human being can make (P47)”

I know there are some who struggle with reading. One advantage of this book, however, is that it is just 95 very small pages. It doesn’t take long to read, but at the same time I would encourage you to read it slowly, maybe a chapter a day and think through each chapter and what it means.

Another idea would be to ring someone in the church up and discuss some of the chapters together with them, or, better still, discuss it at a 2-meter distance in the garden or on the common! This is a great way of applying what we have been hearing in Ephesians about building one another up “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature”. 

If you haven’t got this book and would like a copy I have some spare ones, which I would be very happy to pass on to you if you let me know.

With love,

Steve