“I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.”
There are far too many in our day that would leave off the words “and create darkness” as well as “and create calamity” in today’s text. They would attribute the darkness and the calamity to Satan. To such individuals I say, “You have one too many gods!” The true God reigns over heaven and earth! All things are in His power. Even what we classify as bad or evil ultimately serves God’s purpose and falls within the confines of His will. God asks, “If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it?” (Am 3:6) Do you know this God? Is your God that big?
The message of God’s absolute reign and control is missing from many pulpits, but listen to what Ps 96:10 instructs us to declare to the world: “Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.’” The LORD reigns! That message needs to be preached to the world and within the church. It’s a message the children of God should love. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Is 52:7) It should be good news to you, Christian, and contribute to your peace to know that whether good or bad befall you, your God is still in control! There is no end to His reign nor any creature that is not under His power! It’s this truth that makes possible promises like that of Rom 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I received an email recently about a supposed encounter between Einstein and an atheist professor. In the story, the professor seeks to disprove God because of the existence of evil, but Einstein defends God’s existence, making the professor look very foolish in the process. I had little confidence that the story was true and so visited snopes.com to validate it. In the article that exposed the email as being false, the author made the following statement:
“That God permits evil to exist (and some would say thrive) is taken by non-believers as an inarguable sign that there is no supreme being. This puzzle is pointed to by them as the unanswerable fallacy that proves the negative: they reckon that a loving, all-powerful God would have stamped out evil, ergo He doesn’t exist, of He is not all-powerful, or He is not all that enamored of His children. As such, this paradox can be disquieting to those who do believe: not only do they themselves have to wrestle with the seeming disconnect, they are left unable to convincingly answer their critics when this topic comes up.”
You know what? The author of that article is exactly right! The average believer is “unable to convincingly answer their critics” when it comes to God’s relationship to evil in the world. Larry King used to love to ask church leaders, “Where was God when this catastrophe took place.” They would begin to flounder! Some would flat out say, “God wasn’t there”! They would almost all affirm that if He was there, He had nothing to do with it. He may have stood back weeping that such an event was taking place, but He couldn’t do anything about it. What kind of God is that?!! We need to quit giving the atheist ammunition and declare, “The Lord reigns!” Even if I can’t explain the reason a particular event happens, I have no right nor Biblical evidence to place that event outside of the eternal purposes and will of God, “who works all things according to the counsel of His will”. (Eph 1:11)
Remember the man that was born blind? We would consider that an awful thing. How sad that the child was born with no ability to see, to never enjoy a sunset or the view of a mountain vista! How hard it must have been for his parents to raise a child with such an infirmity! Some would say that such a bad condition must have been the result of judgment due to some sin. After all, a loving God would only desire to do us good and would bring heartache in our lives only due to the fact that He must also be a righteous judge, right? To be clear, there is no doubt that all suffering is the result of sin. Death entered the world when man fell into sin. Also, God certainly also judges and chastens, so it is wise for us to examine our own hearts, looking diligently for sin, when trials come upon us; however, “bad things” are not always the direct result of some committed sin, as some falsely teach.
The disciples had embraced this same error. When they saw the blind man, they asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” But Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (Jn 9:2-3) The point is that God is doing things behind the scenes that are beyond our comprehension. Even if we can’t explain it, God has a purpose in mind! As awful and as hard as an experience may be, it didn’t enter your life by chance. God is guiding the affairs of this universe! He is not the author of evil, but evil can’t go beyond the boundaries He has established. These events, good or bad, are designed to bring Him glory (see Lazarus’ death in Jn 11:4) and to put you in the best place to seek the Lord! “…He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us…” (Ac 17:26-27)