Joseph woke up after the strangest dream. He told Mary, “I thought an angel was telling me to escape to Egypt as Herod is going to try and kill Jesus to ensure that his throne isn’t threatened.” “Jesus is the son of God; there’s no way he’s going to be an exile from the Promised Land, nor be an immigrant in the land of our ancestor’s bondage.”
So Joseph and Mary got on their knees and prayed. God, who rescues those who cry out to Him, struck Herod dead with a lightning bolt from heaven.
Not the Bible: The Ungospel of Matthew 2:13-18

Recently there has been another mass shooting, this time at a Florida school.  I think it is no coincidence that the next “Not the Bible” passage was due to be on the massacre of the innocents in Bethlehem.

Let’s look at this story in more depth in light of the recent shooting and indeed some of the comments made about the ineffectiveness of prayer:

I bet you never ever thought about why God didn’t just strike down Herod who sought to kill His beloved Son.

Why on earth should they have to flee?

Surely, God won’t let anything touch His beloved!

On the flip side: Jesus escaped due to God’s warning but the other families in Bethlehem with children under the age of 2 had their children murdered.

It was the same in Egypt. Hebrew boys were being killed but Moses was saved.

It’s the same now – I read many Christian testimonies some where God intervened and saved them and others where they were tortured to death.

God does intervene but yet He also appears not to intervene.

How do we make sense of this?

Is our God capricious like the Greek and Roman gods?

Not at all.

We have a God who is called “Immanuel”, God with us.

Who has been called illegitimate, who was a refugee, who was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard and working with Satan, who was rejected by His own town, rejected by His family (who thought he was mad), betrayed by His friend and then killed by those He came to save.

No matter what we are going through God will be with us. Even when we walk in the valley of the shadow of death He is with us. Even when exiled from the Promised Land, God is with us. Even when we are persecuted God is with us.

That is the truth.

We have a God who has been there – and will be there with us. No matter what life throws at us, we won’t give up but will seek to find Him in the midst of the pain.

I choose to be faithful admit the many contradictions of my life.

Father, I don’t understand why but I do know You are my Immanuel, my God who is with me, who lives within me, who travels with me in every circumstance, who has been to hell and back. Give me comfort by Your Holy Spirit so that I experience Your life and light in every dark place that I walk. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

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