You are returning to your home out in the country from a weekend trip with your wife. Your cell phones are dead because you forgot your chargers at home. When you are a few miles away from your home, you see thick, black smoke coming from the direction of your home.
You rush home to find police cars and fire trucks on your property. The police prevent you from going to the house. From a safe distance, you watch what little is left of your home burn completely to the ground. Soon, you learn that the mutilated bodies of all your pets have been found in your swimming pool.
Shortly thereafter, the police inform you that they found the bodies of three security guards out in the woods behind your home. You inform them that you had four security guards. A few minutes later, they find the fourth one. Though he had been shot four times, he managed to survive by playing dead. Just before he finally dies, he informs the police that some gang members are responsible for what happened and that they have stolen your brand new Hummer and ransacked your home before setting it on fire.
Immediately, your thoughts turn to your three girls, whom you left for the weekend with your parents. You rush off to their home, a mile down the road. You pound on the door, but no one answers. Finally, in desperation, you break a window and get in the house. To your great horror, you find the lifeless bodies of your parents out back on their deck.
Frantically, you begin to search for your girls. You search everywhere, but you are unable to find your eight, ten, and twelve-year old daughters. In desperation, you head for the church that you pastor, which is three blocks down the road.
You arrive there and find the police at the church. You explain who you are and the chief with great sorrow explains that during a youth activity just a few hours ago, lightning struck during a storm that suddenly became violent and killed your three daughters as they were running toward the church to escape the storm.
As the pastor of a large, rural church in California that has taken a strong stand for Christ, how will you cope? Will you vow to spend the rest of your life to find those gang members and see that they get what they deserve? What will you make of the lightning? Will you abandon your faith in the midst of such horrific suffering?
Or, will you bow in worship: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD’” (Job. 1:20-21).
And, will you think aright about what those gang members have done and about the lightning that killed your daughters? “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.’ So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. . . . A messenger came to Job and said, ‘The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you’” (Job. 1:14-19).
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).