Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Good God in an Evil World? pt. 4

Even Christians have struggled with the question of how God could be loving and allow evil. And while some have resorted to limiting God’s power or declaring that He lets us have our will, we do not have to negate the sovereignty and perfection of God because we see evil in this world. In fact, believers are confident that we will not have to face the evil and sin of this world forever. Someday Christ will return triumphantly to judge. 2 Peter 2:7-10 explains to us:
“But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”

While we may struggle with how God could continue to allow so much evil and suffering, we must look to Scripture to understand that He does not desire for any to perish, and is patiently waiting, desirous that all come to repentance. However, it is also clear that the Lord Jesus Christ will come again, and on that day every work on earth will be judged. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 describes this day:
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
In the midst of suffering and evil of this day we can easily become discouraged, wondering how long the Lord will continue to tarry. But the end of this passage says to “encourage one another with these words”, reminding each other that the Christ will return, and it will be a glorious day! Evil will not triumph. Christ will be triumphant and all those who did not believe in Christ for salvation will be sent to eternal punishment. Right now we can only know what we see—and when we see suffering, death, and destruction around us we wonder how a loving God could allow such things. But there is a seen and unseen part of history. Ultimately, our finite minds can only experience and know the seen part of present history. Because of this, we don’t always understand what or why something is happening. However, the great God of the universe knows exactly what is happening, and all is to bring honor and glory to Him. John Piper conveys,
“The suffering of God's people will be rewarded in the end with the stupendous privilege expressed in [2 Thessalonians 1] verse 10: the Lord will come ‘on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.’ No more suffering. The kingdom has come. The church has been made worthy by her trials. The enemies of truth are swept away in eternal destruction. The saints are given everlasting rest. And Jesus Christ is glorified on his throne forever and ever.”
We can trust that in the end, all will be made right, and we will not question what happened here on earth, because all will point to the perfect plan of God the Father.


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