Here are four ways we can look at all the bad things happening in the world, and still have peace of mind.
When Daniel and most of Judah were taken into captivity, Daniel understood that it was the will of God for this to happen, but he still rested in that. Daniel knew that only God “changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings” (Dan 2:21a), so God is never caught by surprise. We can rest assured that whatever happens, He knew it already, and it is “By Me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just” (Prov 8:15). Mankind might think he’s in charge, but it is “God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another” (Psalm 75:7). If you’re struggling financially, it is not man who makes rich or poor, but “The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts” (1st Sam 2:7). When you see the stock market’s plunge, 401-K’s fall in value, and your savings account shrink next to nothing, remember, our lives are in His hands, but I’d still rather be in a bad state in God’s hands, than in a good state without Him.
A Working Purpose
The Apostle Paul’s wrote, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). Paul is saying that whatever happens, works out according to God’s purpose. It doesn’t say, all things work together for our good, according to our purpose. I’d rather have God’s purpose than mine, but this verse also states that whatever happens, good or bad, all works together for our ultimate best. The ultimate best just might not come today. We live in a society of instant gratification. Microwaves, Internet, and jet aircraft are things people in a hurry use, but God’ never in a hurry. Satan would love for us to make snap a decision, but God desires we bask these things in prayer, godly counsel, and the study of His Word. How would we view violence such as rioting and looting, hurricanes, earthquakes, and natural and manmade disasters if we recognized that God can use evil for good? I know it’s hard to see any good out of such things, but at first, it was hard to see anything good come out of Jesus dying on the cross, but oh, how much good that brought! The cross is the supreme example of God’s using evil for good, so the evil brought upon Christ was used for the infinite good of sinners like us, and those not yet born, and are yet to sin.
In the Grip of Grace
The Gospel of John has some very reassuring words from Jesus words in which we can rest in during times of upheaval, threats of war, street violence, and terrorism. I find peace and safety in John 10:27-29 where Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” These verses show that it’s not us who have to hold on to God, but rather, God’s Who has a hold on us. If I’m walking my young son across the street, I’m not expecting him to hold onto may hand, he’s expecting me to hold onto his…and believe me, I do, but we are not only firmly held in Jesus’ hands; we’re held in the Father’s hands too. Now tell me, who or what could ever pluck us from their hands? I realize it’s an increasingly violent world, so when you and your children watch the news, or even if they don’t watch the news and hear about a major disaster or acts of violence through others, tell them that God is sovereign over all of this. Tell them (and yourself), He knows what’s happening, He’s going to use all this evil for good, and we’re right where we need to be; in the grip of grace, and no one will snatch us out of the hand of God. We stay our minds on Christ. When you’re in the grip of fear, rest in the grip of grace or in these sovereign hands Jesus Christ and the Father. That’s the safest place in all the universe.
Yearning for the Kingdom
When I see suffering in the world, it doesn’t make me question God, but actually makes me want to see God, because when we finally see God (Rev 21:3; 22:4), “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4). I love happy endings, but this one’s more than I can describe. Its “that day” that I dwell on when I read about children abused, animals neglected, and opposing sides of society clashing with one another into greater and greater conflicts of violence. Did you realize that “there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2nd Tim 4:8). Same thing for you too. If you “love His appearing,” which means you yearn for the appearance of Christ, that’s worth one crown in the kingdom of God. In this world, “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1st Cor 9:25). The Bible teaches, “each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done” (1st Cor 3:13), so “If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward” (1st Cor 3:14). And even “If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1st Cor 3:15), so there is the hope of being in heaven.
To trust God means to trust what’s ahead. It’s easier to trust what we see with our eyes, but to trust in advance about a day and time which hasn’t arrived yet, that’s another story, but that’s when we must see with the eyes of faith and rest in God. God is sovereign and nothing happens by mistake; God has a purpose and it will come to pass; God does not let anyone slip through His fingers by mistake or by acts of others; but a godly desire to see Jesus’ face to face, I think, will be the greatest reward of all. Don’t you think so?
May God richly bless you
Pastor Jack Wellman
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