I was visiting with Sue from Arcanum, Ohio, the other day and she mentioned how she had overheard her child say something she questioned. She made the comment that she had used her "Multi-talented Mommy Ears" in monitoring this child.

I thought, WOW, what a cool description of how she watched over her child! I thought, "That's the way God watches over us!" We often have trouble grasping the concept that God can keep track of us and knows what is going on in our lives. Yet, Jesus clearly said:

"Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows" (Matthew 10: 29-31 NLT).

We are living in a time when some pretty terrible things happen. That is not new in itself: terrible things have happened since the beginning of time. We experience suffering and death and it seems new and perhaps more terrible to us because "it is happening to us" — it's not just something we see on the news. We may even wonder, "If God is there, why is our world in such a mess?"

I would suggest that it's not that people are worse now than at other times — though I do believe we have witnessed a significant change in values in American culture. It's just that these terrible things are affecting us now! How do you think Adam and Eve felt when their son Cain murdered their son Abel? Do you think they just may have been crying out to God and asking, "Why did you allow this to happen?" Who else was there to blame? There were no cultural icons, no television, no movies, no books, no rock music, and no violent video games. So, whose fault was it?

James, Jesus' brother, reminds us of the following truth:

And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, "God is tempting me." God is never tempted to do wrong and he never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death (James 1:13-15 NLT).

Yes, terrible things happen.
The language in this verse actually draws a picture of how sin works. The word picture drawn describes going fishing. In fact the word translated as "lure" literally means "to catch with bait." So the picture is one of a fisherman baiting the hook and dangling it in the water in hopes that it will lure and entice the fish into biting. Most of the time when we become involved in sin, it is because satan has dangled some sin before us to stir up our desire and then we have allowed ourselves to take the bait.

If we want to be able to deal with sin in this life, then we have to develop "Joseph attributes." When the wife of Joseph's master tried to seduce him, to lure and entice him into sexual compromise, he literally "ran" away from her (Genesis 39).

Yes, terrible things happen, but not because God isn't watching or doesn't care. They happen because of the sinful nature of men and women who inhabit our world. Just like Sue and her "Multi-talented Mommy Ears," God watches those in his world and knows all that happens. He cares for those who are broken by the sinful and evil actions of others — go back and read  Isaiah 53 to realize how much God knows and bears in these situations. He also will bring judgement and justice on those who have brought this evil upon others (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7).