Have you ever battled with such a question? Have you ever sought to understand why evil thrives when God is good and powerful? The recent terrorist attack in Westgate mall in Nairobi city left many dead and even more injured. The faith of Kenyans in their God of all creation is amazing. The great work by the defence forces showed that we have much to be grateful for, with regards to their effort. For anyone who suffered no direct loss, God’s intervention is clearly seen. Why? It is easy to trust God when things are easy. But what about those who lost loved ones? Do all of them find their comfort in God? It is possible and it is the best place to find solace, beloved. This note is specifically for hurting people in the Body of Christ, who share their faith in Jesus. In the midst of hurt, God either becomes someone we hold close or, true at times, one we blame. Hopefully you will see that God is sovereign and that adversity, ideally, should draw us to our Maker. It should help us trust in Him when we are at wits end and have reached the end of our strength. In our helplessness, He becomes our strength. To believe that, especially after losing a loved one, is to have strong Faith in the Creator. This kind of faith is not saving faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) that entered you into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Saviour. This kind of faith is rooted in saving faith, but it is a gift. It is listed in 1st Corinthian 12:9 among the other gifts. And because the Holy Spirit gives the gift, we must be patient with those who find it hard to see God in the pain. This faith is not virtuous. God wants us to desire this gift of faith (1st Corinthians 14:1a) Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts.
Hopefully those followers of Jesus Christ who eagerly desire the faith to understand why a good and powerful God exists seemingly blind in the midst of tragedy will find a glimmer of hope.
But why write, Ernest? To defend God? Nay. Christ needs no defence. He is God. I write because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Your faith needs to be built because you probably have more time in this world of hurt. You will have trouble in this world; the Bible guarantees it (John 16:33). As inevitable trouble comes everyday through accidents, acts of terror, natural calamities, you need to live and not just survive; you need faith. So, this is to those who may ask why does a good and powerful God allow evil to happen?
The world is broken
Two forces have broken our world: humanity and principalities.
Our world is broken because of sin. Humanity is born in sin because of the Fall. Humanity will naturally, without effort, commit wrongdoing. When wrongdoing is not nipped in the bud, it produces a recipe for disaster. Religions and Governments aim to control evil in humanity. They convict you not to litter, not to fight, not to steal. However, ultimately, they don’t stop us because even religions and government are made of humans who are limited and flawed in their capacity. Men and women will always find creative ways to dodge the restrictive lines to satiate their selfish desires even at the expense of peace. Humanity’s free will abuses the creation. Free will is not an on and off button that God decides to press. Free will is a spiritual law like gravity is a physical law. When gravity is abused, there are consequences. When free will is abused, there are consequences as well. This law exists as it is and whenever humanity abuses it, it seems evil has a heyday.
Our world is also broken because Lucifer is an evil principality bent to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He was a rebel, the scriptures teach us (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28) and works very effectively with the evil in humanity. He still actively works in the hearts of unregenerate men to perpetrate enmity with God.
God has done something
The world is broken but the days of the Evil one, Lucifer, are numbered. A day of his destruction is coming. The world is broken but be encouraged that is it under repair. From the moment Adam and Eve fell, a redemption plan was underway. Genesis 3:15 predicted that Christ would come to destroy the work of the devil. Christ came on earth for that purpose (1st John 3:8).
He died on the cross to absolve us of sin. He did it so that when the reparation begins, we can be separated from the destruction. If God repairs a broken world, none of us will survive. Why? His repair is so big, that even the most moral of us will be destroyed in the clean-up process. He needs to repair the one that looks at another with lust. He needs to repair the one that hates their brother because he is a Jew, Hindu, Black, White, Male, Female etc. He needs to repair the terrorist and the innocent civilian. But if he does it, both will perish. So God gave both the terrorist and the civilian a choice. He sent his Son to take the punishment of everyone and to win over those who are willing. He clothed them with his Son’s purity so that they are absolved of destruction in the reparation process. Whoever joins Me, He says, must sacrifice their life and find a new one in me. Those who agree accept Him as Saviour. Those who don’t remain under the world system. Accepting Him as Saviour is getting into the garage; living by His is conducting the repair and it takes time. Getting into the garage does not mean you are repaired. It just means you are willing. When the rain comes, you will be safe in the garage but you will not be repaired yet. Salvation is one time but repairing (sanctification) is a process that involves learning God’s word, imparting it in our lives and then imparting it into society. Christ through His followers is in the process of restoring original creation as it was before evil. That is why as a Christian, every sphere of society is yours for the taking. God empowers us to fight for restoration. Fight environmental pollution. Fight injustice. Fight terrorism. Fight everything that does not fit with the original creation of the world. The truth, however, is we will not win the fight immediately. The forces of darkness will collude with a humanity that rejects God and bring about their best weapon yet; the Antichrist. His power will be unfathomable and so beautiful; he will cause the world to follow him into a false peace that lasts three and a half years. The earth is yet to face tribulation and terror unlike anything in history. That is a story for another day.
Realize, beloved, that we are at war, with the evil within us, the evil without and the evil unseen. When you accepted Christ, you allowed God control over the evil of your heart. The patience of the Almighty will run out eventually and He will turn his wrath on all evil. Well, why doesn’t he do it now? Because there are still many who need to come to Him and experience his love. His love and craving to be intimate with us “delays” his punishment on evildoers but it does not withhold it. Be assured beloved, that Our God will come like a rushing wind and He will save and He will bring justice on the Earth. He is a just God and even for those who died prematurely, He will execute fairness and love. God will not require from anyone what He did not provide.
He is God
I have lost friends to death. It is painful, to say the least. For many mourning the death in the Westgate tragedy, I can only imagine the trauma. And even with the knowledge of the evil state of affairs, I just wished God would make an exception to those I loved. Even in my anguish, I came to realize that God owes me nothing. He owes me no explanation. He owes me no money. He owes me nothing because He is GOD. That is not a callous statement to hush the broken. Look at it as a statement of Hope. Though everything fails, He is God and we are not. Our Faith in God is not based on how we feel at the moment or how we reason; it is based on HIS faithfulness. Numbers 23:19 says He is not a man that he should lie nor human that he should change His mind. His thoughts are not like ours but be sure that his Word is clear; A time is coming beloved when wrong will be made right.
Revelation 7:16-17 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
When He says that everything is going to work out for my good (Romans 8:28), I need the gift of Faith to believe it. That gift of faith will come when we realize his Supremacy and Potency. He is God and He is God alone. There are things we will never understand as long as we are trapped in the space-time continuum. The Bible says that Christ’s redemption and victory over evil was before the foundation of the earth and before time began. How can we understand such when limited in our capacity? God reveals what we need. He has appointed each day that evil seems to triumph for good, especially for those that love Him and are called according to His will. Trust in God! Let not your soul grow weary; your protector is coming! I pray that the Holy Spirit may impart you this faith.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31