This whole series of posts started off with two questions:
- If God is good and all powerful, then why do bad things happen?
- As a believer in this God, how do you respond when evil threatens you and your circumstances change for the worse?
Why does a good God allow genocide or human trafficking? These evils are the consequences of our own choices. If God took away consequence, he would be taking away free will.
God does intervene, though, but not all the time. When can we be sure that he will intervene? When a believer acts because a soul is on the line. (Mark 16:17-20)
If the Kingdom of God is full of joy, peace, power, love, etc… then why don’t Christians always enjoy those benefits in life? Because this, right now, is not the Kingdom of God. We live in a world that is affected by the curse of death, because of sin. This world is filled with demonic forces and evil people that are at war with what God wants for the world. God’s Kingdom is coming. No matter how bad things get, in the end, the final victory has already been won by Jesus.
That’s pretty much pinned down that first question, which leaves one with: How do you respond when evil threatens you and your circumstances change for the worse?
Remember: Bad things happen in a fallen world. At some point, you’ll get hurt. You have to accept that. You can never make yourself totally safe. You may live in Somalia and die of old age. You may live in Cincinnati and be killed in a car accident (Luke 12:8-20). If you live your whole life worrying about what bad might happen to you, you will never really live your life. “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.” -William Shakespeare
Be Wise: Jesus told his disciples to avoid people who would do them harm. He told them to be as shrewd as serpents, but as innocent as doves. (Matt. 10:16). Don’t willingly put yourself in a compromising or dangerous situation, unless God specifically tells you to. That’s just bad stewardship of your life.
Endure: Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed is the man with the cushy job or the comfy retirement plan.” He said, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20). Take more interest in the development of your character and the health of your soul than you do the development of your comfort and safety. If you do, you can be happy no matter the circumstances you face.
Be Joyful and Worship: God is with you. He knows every pain and doubt and fear of yours. He saves up every tear. He is good and he can make good come out of any terrible circumstance if you will endure (Romans 8:28). In the end, when his Kingdom comes, he will wipe away every tear and make everything right (Revelations 21:4). Look forward to that day.
Act: There is an appropriate course of action for every circumstance. Sometimes it’s to pray, sometimes it’s to sacrifice, sometimes it’s to wait, sometimes it’s to confront, sometimes it’s to make peace. Jesus said that in those moments, his Holy Spirit would help us remember what he taught and guide us in what to do (Luke 12:11). Trust him to do that and act on behalf of his Kingdom. You are a representative of him, with his power in you to do his will on this earth (2 Corinthians 5:20, Acts 1:8). Act.
Heal: If you are hurt, don’t just brush it aside. Take the time you need to process your pain and open that wound up to people that love you and that you can trust. You will find two things
- Everyone is broken and messed up in some way.
- And we need each other. There will be some people who need to hear your story, your own personal story. You can help them. In trusting that God will heal you as you reach out to others, you’ll find that he is gentle with those who are broken (Psalm 34:18, Matt. 11:29).