"Go out to the whole world and proclaim the good news!" What is this good news of which the psalmist spoke generations before the first Christmas? (Psalm 117)
The answer is to be found in Psalm 46 which proclaims: "God is our refuge and our strength." That is "the good news." It means that when we are lost and weak we can turn to God for direction and strength.
But do we? Do we turn to God for direction and strength or are we more inclined to put ALL our hope for salvation in the latest bio-technical breakthrough as though an old and traditional God can no longer be trusted with the well being of a creation which has managed to out-pace Him?
I am reminded of the story of the three top engineers at I.B.M. who were taken from their regular assignments and entrusted with the development of a multi-million dollar computer which would eventually be able to answer the most complex questions. After months of development the most powerful and sophisticated of all computers was ready to be put to the test. The first question was fed into it. "Is there a God?" After much whirring and humming the answer came out...THERE IS NOW!
Does our strength lie in our ingenuity and solutions or does it lie in the Lord God of History? The answer is that these sources are not mutually exclusive. The wise person surrenders to the grace and direction of God and through this submission he or she might well be led toward a solution dependent upon the latest scientific understanding. The one proviso being that the common good is truly served through absolute respect for primary moral principles.
When things are going well it is easy to forget God. It is when we are broken and hurting, when all the king's horses, men, women and computers have failed us that we tend to focus once again on good old God. Perhaps that is what the author of Hebrews had in mind when he suggested that suffering is often the key to surrendering and experiencing the eternal truths. (Chapter 12:5-13)
A Rabbi was asked a question with regard to a passage of Deuteronomy that reads..."and these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart." "Why," asked the student, "why not IN your heart instead of ON?"
"All that we can do," replied the Rabbi, "is to place The Divine Teachings on the surface of the heart, so that when the heart breaks, they can fall in."
I wonder if this means that if somehow we were to rid the world of all suffering we would eventually cease to believe in God? If so, "suffering" must be the greatest blessing of all!