“I don’t get it.” My friend, like me and you, and everyone we know, was nauseated by the evil perpetrated on children at the shooting in Uvalde this week.
“I used to say if you prayed enough and believed enough, good things would happen. Now I know it’s not about earning God’s favor, because he works for our best by grace. But what do I say to people who ask about Uvalde?”
I totally get it. Where is the justice? How can such evil even exist?
My friend and brilliant encourager in truth, John Lynch,
Shared these words this week:
“How majestic, loving and good is our God that He can and will bring good and redemption from the hideous tragedy and evil our planet has caused.” -John Lynch (John Lynch Speaks)
God hates evil and is leading us out of the shambles of a fallen world where evil still has a foothold. But out of His love for us all, He has made the off-ramp and even while bringing life and sufficiency in the midst of pain and suffering, He is slow to leave anyone behind. So we wait for everything to be reconciled to His love and life and goodness and justice and victory. Hold on, my friend. The enemy still strikes blows because God is still winning souls from the enemy camp. But He has ALREADY lost the battle. Christ has already won. We are undefeatable and have divine life and hope in temporal struggle. We are victorious already in Him.
Put differently, FAITH often is simply leaning into God’s unseen plan for our good when all we see in the immediate is the struggle.
We are still in process toward God’s justice, which is often a temporary view of all the injustice. We don’t have to fix everything, but can fix our eyes on Him in everything. He is a worthy hope and focus for today.
So what’s the immediate response to tragedy? In Luke 13:1-8, Jesus is asked why horrible things happened, and how bad people are when such things occur. Pilot was using the blood of innocent people in sacrificial practices. Towers were collapsing killing people. And Jesus said one person’s sin isn’t causing the worlds calamity than another. Evil does happen. But then He tells a parable of a fig tree that year after year wouldn’t produce. After three years, the owner went to the Gardner and said tear it out already! Why should it use up the soil?
We are like that. Frustrated in a seemingly fruitless, painful, lacking temporal experience. We want God, the Gardner, to wipe out all the evil and make everything okay. Of course we do. Of course He will! But look at the Garner’s response in the story: he said he wanted to leave it alone for one more year to nurture life, fertilize and isolate and care for it. If it still produces nothing, then he’d cut it down.
Evil is not winning. God is wooing. You have sufficiency in Him. This wold is not our home. He is loving people out of the faux life of quasi hope in temporal things to a true and eternal hope in the Life of Christ. Every temporal tragedy – every blow of the enemy – awakens us to the limitations of this life and reminds us of our real home and hope in Him.
Friends, I will not be here long. Neither will you. Every single person on the earth is here temporarily, is just passing through. If I am here for 50 more years or gone tomorrow, the question isn’t was that a great way to go or a good day to leave. The question is how did my temporary life move people to embrace the true, eternal reality of Life in Christ. So anything that allows us to awaken to the reality of our eternal state in Him, or needing Him, might be an evil thing, but certainly is being used for good. Anything that raises our focus from here to eternity, God is reconciling what is evil to bring us into greater dependence upon and experience of Christ as life, before He brings justice. Our job is not His justice or judging Him for what we don’t know of all He is doing. Our job is to be used to woo hearts to, and reconcile the truth of, Christ’s love and life from the cross to us to eternity.
It’s a huge error to ever think God wants evil. Nor does He turn evil things to good. Your ailment and heartache and loss and struggle are not good. God hates sin and evil because of what it does to us whom He loves.
Romans 8:28-29 is often misused. It says, “God uses all things FOR the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose…. [using everything] to bring us into conformity with His son.”
If the temporal that is passing away is used to reconcile the truth of fullness in the eternal here and now, the temporal isn’t always good, but God is.
Again, He doesn’t call evil good. But He brings you into greater awareness and experience of your life in Christ – who really is Life to us – through it all. So can God still USE the enemy and his schemes for good and bring us into greater hope upon Christ, greater focus upon God’s love and divine participation, and ultimately victory in Him. Absolutely.