By Femi Aribisala
God will not short-change us in the evil we have to face but will make sure we have just the right amount we need.
Where is God when bad things happen? The psalmist says: “Our God is in heaven.” (Psalm 115:3). He has always been in heaven and he will always be in heaven. Solomon says: “God is in heaven, and you on earth.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2). Over and over again, Jesus gives us the precise location of God. He is our Father who is in heaven. (Matthew7:11).
Sinful love of life
Heaven is the kingdom of God. In heaven, the will of God is always done. On earth, it is not always done. God is not the ruler of this world. Dominion was given to man, but we surrendered it to the devil. According to Jesus, the devil is the ruler of this world. (John 16:11). Therefore, this world is evil and bad things always happen on earth. Thus, Jesus warns his disciples: “In the world you will have tribulation. (John 16:33). This is inevitable because, while in the world, we are in the devil’s territory.
God hates the life we lead in this world. According to Jesus, life in this world is absolutely evil to God. We know this for sure because the Father only grants eternal life to those who hate the life in this world. Jesus says: “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25). The person who loves the life in this world does so in opposition to God.
All men are evil because we love life. Jesus says: “what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15). That which is most highly esteemed among men, which is abomination to God, is life in this world. This explains why the worst thing that can happen to a man is to die or be killed, and the worst injury man can inflict on an enemy is to kill him or her.
However, those not belonging to the kingdom of God are actually dead, as far as God is concerned. If you want to view the most graphic image of the Father’s view of the world, carefully study Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. Where was the Father? He was not in the far country. The far country was to the Father the realm of the dead. The Prodigal Son died when he left the Father. He only rose from the dead when he returned. (Luke 15:24).
Jesus took the same position when one of his disciples sought permission to go and bury his father before following him. He said to him: “let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:22). The dead are those not in the presence of the father. Can a dead man be killed? No; he is already dead. How do you protect a dead man from death? You cannot; he is already dead. The only protection you can give to a dead man is to raise him from the dead. Therefore, Jesus offers no more and no less. The Father has one will that he has entrusted to his Son, Jesus. That will of God is not the person we marry, or the job we do, or where we live. That singular will of God is that we should be resurrected from the dead.
Jesus says: “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me. This is the will of the Father who sent me, that of all He has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40).
Bread of life
Jesus raises the dead back to life by bringing the kingdom of God down to earth. He draws men into the kingdom NOT by washing us in his blood (an entirely pagan construct), but by giving us his word; the bread of life. Jesus says: “A time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25).
But even after we receive this new life, we remain in the domain of Satan. Jesus said to the Father concerning the redeemed: “I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one.”(John 17:15). Since we remain in enemy territory, the devil will not leave us alone. Therefore, “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19).
However, the devil can do nothing to us without God’s permission unless we sin and break the hedge of protection he builds around us. Thus, God said to Satan concerning Job: “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” (Job 1:12). Jesus reveals that Satan even asked for God’s permission to tempt Peter. He said to him: “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” (Luke 22:31-32). Why would God grant permission to Satan to afflict his beloved?
In one of his hard sayings, Jesus reveals that evil is necessary in the life of his people. He says: “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34). But why would God allow and tolerate this? Why do the redeemed need trouble every day in this miserable world? We need trouble so that the power of Christ in deliverance and salvation may be revealed to us and in us. (John 9:1-3). We need evil, in order to partake of God’s divine nature in overcoming it.
Indeed, the man who is not confronted with evil is at a disadvantage and cannot develop into a perfect man. Therefore, God will not short-change us in the evil we have to face but will make sure we have just the right amount we need.
The evil that confronts a child of God is by God’s permission. Jesus said to those who came to arrest him: “You could have no power at all against me unless it had been given you from above.” (John 19:11). God furnished the power and without his permission it could never have been done. Similarly, child of God, no one can hurt you, rob you, jilt you, injure you or abuse you without God’s permission.
It is God himself, and not the enemy, that sets good and evil before us. (Deuteronomy 30:19). He does this, not for our injury, but for our benefit. To be overcomers like Jesus, we must overcome this evil world. (Revelation 21:7). Evil constitutes mere hurdles in our way in the steeplechase race of life. When the race is run and the books are tallied, we will then fully understand God’s grand design and know that he allowed evil for noble reasons. Thereafter, all evil will be abolished.