I was asked by a reader a few months ago, “Why does God allow bad?” Or at least that was the basic context of his query.
He asked me this shortly after the passing of a sweet woman in my church. Through her death, I was able to witness, in a way, how her life touched the lives of so many others. So I told this man parts of her story and how it wasn’t so much that God allowed bad, but rather that He used her life and her passing for His good. His glory.
Today, however, I found myself questioning the same thing. I had received some news that hit close to home on many different levels and I was not at all expecting it to hit as hard as it did initially. Until I recognized satan’s hand reaching in, and twisting those weaknesses in me.
Thoughts like, “Dear God, this is it. Bad news always comes in 3’s.” The thought that the one person I wish I could reach out to for consolation and to hold close at this time is the one person I can’t. Memories of past occasions that resembled this one in the lives of people I knew and were dear to me. Finding a picture my daughter randomly shredded that seemed to “connect the dots,” so to speak, in satan’s little whispers going through my head.
All of it left my head screaming in desperation and I could hear that evil little whisper, like a villain chuckling and wringing his hands at me.
Then, I stopped, and I prayed.
I taped up the picture, and I prayed some more.
I made a cup of coffee, and I prayed again.
Then that’s when it hit. I found myself praying for the least likely, or rather the least obvious person, I imagine most people would pray for in this situation. I prayed for the ones who do the bad.
In this time of prayer I was able to forgive a person I had been struggling for years to forgive. It was only through praying for another person that my heart turned towards my inability to forgive another, and I found my heart softened and having a better understanding.
God doesn’t “allow” bad to happen. I know of only one person in the Bible that God actually allowed bad to happen to, and that was only because God KNEW Job would not waiver in his faith. God was trying to give satan a big ‘ol “I told you so” lesson, but satan’s stupid. (Don’t tell my kids I said stupid.)
Rather, bad happens and He uses it. Bad comes from man’s free will to make decisions and the domino effect those decisions end up having on our lives. Bad comes from decisions made that are lacking God’s design and direction, whether it was a decision you made or one that someone else made and you were simply affected by it.
I could have made the decision to continue to allow the despairing thoughts to go through my head. OR, I could do what I did. I prayed and I remembered how God has used my poor decisions to bring about a better good. Yes, bad still happened along the way and at the time it didn’t seem that great. However, looking back now, I can see how great His plan was.
I have come through some instances in my life in which I look back on now and wonder how in the world I am still here today. Why was I spared when so many others I know going through the same thing were not? Some things are unexplainable, but in my life I see why He spared me. He wanted me to grow closer to Him. To have a family that I can help lead and guide in the way that He would wish me to. To be a support to others going through struggles I have been through. To do things that I still know nothing of yet. But I do know this….God is with each and every one of us at every moment of our life. Whether we ask him to be or not. The good, the bad, the boring. He’s there. He’s just hoping that we’ll seek His guidance in our decision making, rather than leaning on our own idea of “good vs bad.”
Yes, bad happens and it’s painful. But God is good and if we hope to find any good to come of any situation, we must, MUST turn to God. Things don’t have to be bad. We don’t have to feel overwhelmed, lost, discouraged, tempted, even forsaken. He wants us to seek and to do HIS will so that good will come of every situation if we will only trust that His ways are the best ways.
For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercessions for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercessions for the saints according to the will of God.
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