Sep 172014
 

We are an impatient society.   I don’t want to check Facebook when I get home, I want to check it now.   Or at the next stop light or while waiting at McDonalds.

I don’t want to plan and wait and organize and think.   I want to come up with an idea and do it now.

I don’t want to save up money, I want to buy it now……

But then it comes to the big issues:

  • Why is there cancer?
  • Why is there poverty?
  • Why is there evil?
  • Why is there malnutrition?
  • Why does greed sneak its way into places it shouldn’t be?

And why are there no easy or quick answers to those questions?

And those are just some of the places where we ask, we wonder and we don’t know.

And then David, in Psalm 62:5, gives us a possible answer to that.

He says, “ God, the one and only—I’ll wait as long as he says.”   (The Message)

God is the one and only.   Not our work, not our organizations, not our mission trips.   God is the one and only.

It’s not us who are going to solve the poverty problem.   God, the one and only, will use man to solve the poverty problem.

It’s not us who are going to bring justice to all of the oppressed.   It’s God, the one and only, who will use man to bring justice to the world.

It’s not us who are going to combat evil, malnutrition, greed and corruption.   It’s God, the one and only, who will solve those problems and will most likely use his people to do so.

 

And then the second part, the Why and the corresponding “When?”

Why, God?   Why do You allow these things?   And when are You going to make all things new?

We see so many things that aren’t right in this world.   So many things that hurt, that injure, that leave scars and we wonder, “Why God?”

And we acknowledge that God has a plan, He has a long term plan but we question the timing.

King David has an answer,  “God is the one and only, He’s everything I need, so I’ll wait as long as He says.”

I’ll wait as long as He says – even if that means a 50 year old father of 2 dies from cancer.

I’ll wait as long as He says – even if that means that children suffer longer than I’d like.

I’ll wait as long as He says – even if that means that corrupt people remain in positions of power.

I’ll wait as long as He says – even if I don’t want to.

 

But I’ll also realize that God intends to use His people to fulfill His purposes.

So I’ll say, “Here I am, use me.”

Use me – when you want.

Use me – how you want.

I’ll wait for You.

 

God’s plan is supreme because He’s the one and only.

We need to wait for Him.   And while we wait, we need to work for Him.

And only Him.

 

Because He’s the one and only.

 

TJV

Sep 152014
 

Jamie Grace recently released the song, “Do Life Big.”   Here’s the chorus of it:

Saying I came to give you life,
So spread your wings and fly,
I’ve got a secret to share,
You are enough to change the atmosphere,

So go and do life big, big
I wanna do life big, big

I like this song for a couple of reasons…….

I think we underestimate God.   I think our vision of what God can do and what God can use us to do is too small.

We’re too happy to do life small.    To do life comfortable.   To do life inside the nest.

That’s not what God wants.   He wants us to do life BIG.

He wants us spread our wings and fly.

He wants us to change the atmosphere.

That’s a pretty tall order.

But let’s do it.

Tom
tom@thevulnerableproject.org

Sep 122014
 

Kristen Howerton wrote a post on her blog about why orphan prevention matters to adoptive parents.    You can read the entire article below.    I want to expand and personalize what she said, but first, read this:

This is what drives us to do this . . . we feel incredibly blessed by our children through adoption, but we ultimately want to reduce the number of children who are orphaned in the first place.
Read more:
http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2014/09/why-orphan-prevention-is-important-to.html#ixzz3CvecewKp

I’ve talked to some people who have said, “wait, aren’t you advocating against what you did when you adopted your kids?”    Absolutely not.   I am very much for adoption.   I have been very blessed through adoption – not only through my kids but through the amazing people that I’ve gotten to know and consider friends all over the world.  

But adoption should be the last resort, not the  first resort.  

Keeping families together should be the first resort whenever possible.    Anyone who has adopted knows that at some point there will be pain and emotional struggles over why their child(ren) needed to be adopted.    If that pain can be alleviated for some children, that’s a great thing.

There’s another “party” in this picture that we need to remember as well.    The biological parents will be dealing with scars from this for the rest of their lives.   Can you imagine how grateful they would be if they were able to keep their child(ren) because someone came along side them and gave them a hand during a time of crisis?

There are many many, way too many situations where adoption is the only resort.    There are no biological family members who are willing and able to care for the child(ren).   That’s when adoption is a great option.

But adoption shouldn’t be the first option, it should be the last resort.

And that’s why The Vulnerable Project cares about orphan prevention and is also pro-adoption.

Questions?

Tom Vanderwell
tom@thevulnerableproject.org

Sep 102014
 

Today, I read from Psalm 55.   In it, the Psalmist talks about his desire to flee the evil, the terrors of death, the struggles of the world. 

I shudder at the mean voice,

quail before the evil eye,

As they pile on the guilt,

stockpile angry slander.

My insides are turned inside out;

specters of death have me down.

I shake with fear,

I shudder from head to foot.  (The Message)

After that, the Psalmist goes on to say, (and I paraphrase), “I want out!   It’s too hard!   I can’t handle it!”

Oh and the Psalmist – it’s King David.

 

Now let’s look at that – how often do we feel that way?   How often do we look at the evil in the world and say, “Lord, I want out?”

How often do we think of the problems in the church and say, “Lord, I can’t fix it – take me away?”

How often do we look at the orphan problem and say, “God, it’s too hard and too big, I can’t make a difference!”

But then we move to later in Psalm 55 and King David says,

 

Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—

he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.

He’ll never let good people

topple into ruin.

 

Yes, the world is full of pain.   Yes, the world is full of evil people.   Yes, the problems seem insurmountable.

But God will help out.    God will help you make a difference.

So, no matter what evil you are fighting, no matter how big the obstacle you’re tackling, no matter how much pain you are in, give it to God.   He’ll help.    He’ll carry your load.   He won’t let good people topple into ruin – now keep in mind, that his idea of ruin is not financial peace or good healthy or anything like that.    His idea of not letting us topple into ruin speaks more to our spiritual soul than anything here on this earth.

So, go ahead.   Tackle that big project, make a difference, fight for change in your church.   Don’t forget about the vulnerable children in the world.  

Don’t run away from it.   Run to God and take it on together.

Tom

Sep 092014
 

So why do evil people get so much good stuff?    They drive the fancy cars, own the big boats, live in mansions, take really really nice vacations.   They appear to have it all.   While those who are solid Christ followers struggle – with a wide variety of issues and pains.

It’s not fair!   Of course it’s not fair.   But why does it happen?

There’s a scene in the movie, “God’s Not Dead” which gives some possible insight into it.   One of those “evil have everything type” of people was visiting his mother who is in a nursing home suffering from dementia.    She doesn’t even recognize him.    He’s kind of muttering under his breath and says, “I don’t get it – you’ve been a good person all of your life and you end up “like this” and me, well, my life is just about perfect.   Where’s your God in that?”

Suddenly, she comes out of the dementia fog and says to him,  “Maybe the devil is using your comfort, your riches, your pleasures to keep you in your padded jail cell even though you don’t realize that’s what it is.   Maybe some day, you’ll realize that you’re living in a jail cell that is lined with “things” and that you’re trapped.    But by then it will be too late, the cell door will be locked and you’ll be stuck forever.”

And just like that, the fog returned and she didn’t even recognize her son any more.  

Why do bad people seem to get the good stuff?    Maybe the devil is using that to keep them away from the truth and the peace that comes from knowing that the only really “good stuff” is what comes from God?

So, how can we, as Christians, take that theory and take it one step further.   How can we help those we run into who fit that category – the not so Christian but appear to have it all?   Big question, no easy answers.

But one thing we can do – we can live our lives as shining examples of the love that Christ calls us to.   Be content no matter whatever your circumstances, live your live showing that God is what matters.    Show passion and efforts to help those who are less fortunate than you are.

That will help spread the shining light of Jesus and help those who seem to have it all but are really missing it all to find it all.   To find Christ.

What do you think?   Could that be why the evil seem to have so much?

Tom
tom@thevulnerableproject.org

Sep 092014
 

I’ve been thinking about Evil a lot lately.   Not that I’ve been planning it but I’ve been questioning it, fighting it and wondering about it.  

Why does a good God allow evil to happen?   Why does He allow people to do evil things?  Why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?  And why does it often seem that the good people suffer more than the evil do?   Why do mothers die of cancer?   Why is poverty such a big problem in this world?

If you read “The Locust Effect” by Gary Haugen (from The International Justice Mission), a vast amount, if not all of the poverty in the world is because of evil and violence.   Warning – don’t read his book right before going to bed, it’s scary.   Why does God allow this type of evil to exist?

Let me share a couple of thoughts that I’ve come across lately about why the evil in this world exists.    Both of them come from the movie,  “God’s Not Dead” which my family and I rented this past weekend. 

Theory #1 of why evil exists.   Evil exists because it’s our fault.   Man ate of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eve and brought sin in the world.    God said (and I’m paraphrasing very liberally), “You guys screwed up and I’ll fix it all in the end but there will be consequences.”     God sent His Son to provide the ultimate payment for the sins of the world – and we know the end result.    But we also know that from now until then, there will be pain and suffering in the world.   Could God just make it all go away?   Yes He could.   But like any good parent, actually, the best parent, He is choosing not to remove the consequences of our sin.  

He wants us to make a choice – do we choose Him and reject and fight against what the evil of the world is doing?   Or do we choose to reject Him and side with the evil of the world?

In many ways, I think the evil of this present time is very similar to WWII between D-Day and the surrender of the Germans.   Everyone knew who the final victor was going to be.  Everyone knew that the Allied forces were going to drive Germany back and force their eventual surrender.    But there was a lot of pain, a lot of evil, a lot of death and destruction that had to be “gotten through” to get to the victory and the achievement of peace.

God hasn’t stopped the evil because He wants us to choose.   Do we choose God and eventual triumph over the sin and evil of the world?   Or do we reject God and continue in paths of evil?

Joshua 24:15 – “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Tom

P.S. But why do the evil people seem to have it so good?    More on that in Part 2