Hope Midst Evil

Hope Midst Evil

Hope Midst Evil

 

Do you ever wonder why bad things happen to “good people?” Have you ever been in an unjust or painful situation and questioned God’s goodness?

Lately I’ve wrestled with feeling overwhelmed by the amount of evil going on around us. It can be discouraging to see its power in the world, even as it infiltrates churches. But one of the most refreshing things I’m learning right now is that believers will be confronted with evil until the day we die or Jesus returns.

Let me explain why this is refreshing to me.

We all have unrealistic expectations of what life “should” be like, right? We think we “deserve” a relatively easy, comfortable and happy life. No one wants to expect evil or its consequences. God certainly gives us good gifts to enjoy, including the abundant life that comes through knowing Him (John 10:10, 17:3). However, if we believe we are going to find ultimate fulfillment this side of heaven, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment & frustration. Why? Because we live in a fallen world.

On the other hand, if we have a proper, Biblical perspective of life on this earth, we will be able to face evil without unraveling. The truth that this beautiful world is tainted by evil pushes us to look ahead to the perfect, sinless, all-fulfilling life after this world. We will spend eternity with King Jesus, who will return one day to make all things right. Therefore, one benefit of being aware of evil in this life is that it causes us to look forward to the next life.

Romans 12:2 says,

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

How does this verse apply to our view of evil? Do we believe what our culture, our flesh and our feelings say? Or, do we renew our minds in Scripture, so that our view of evil aligns with what God says about it?

   

The answer is the latter. One way to renew our minds is to study the stories of men & women throughout the Bible who followed the Lord whole-heartedly and faced evil first-hand.

Romans 15:4 says,

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

One of these well-known examples was King David. Psalm 17 is one of my favorite prayers of David:

“Wondrously show Your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at Your right hand. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings […] Deliver my soul from the wicked by Your sword, from men by Your hand, O LORD, from men of the world, whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants. As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness” (Ps. 17:7-8, 13b-15).

Like David, no believer’s portion (aka: “possession” or “share”) is in this life. Our hope rests in the fact that we will one day, like David, behold Jesus’ face in righteousness. When we “awake” (aka: arrive in His presence) we will be satisfied with His likeness.

While there is an infinite number of ways that God uses evil for good, one way He is using it in our lives is to develop our eternal perspective. The Lord is teaching us to use the difficult times as opportunities to look forward to being with Him.

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

– Hebrews 11:13-16.

Emily Kelly lives in Athens, GA with her awesome  husband, where she is on staff with the college ministry of Watkinsville First Baptist Church.

 

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