“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
The Bible is honest in its approach to all things; even the thorny problems of evil and human suffering are faced squarely in the inspired text. Yes, God is a God of love(1 John 4:8, 16), a God Who exercises loving kindness (Jeremiah 9:24), Whose tender mercies are over all His works (Psalm 145:9). Even so, we know from experience that this world is a far cry from its once Eden-like conditions (Romans 8:20-22). “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” said the Lord Jesus (John 16:33a). Paul echoed this sentiment, insisting “that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). He made this statement while his wounds from being stoned were still fresh (Acts 14:19-21). This was by no means the only ill treatment suffered by the great apostle (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). Many in the Bible struggled with the problem of evil and human suffering personally. At times they cried out to God in pain and frustration with language that is quite raw (eg. Job 9:17-2; 16:11-22; Psalm 13:1; 44:24; Lamentations 5:20). We understand that the world is limping along the way it does because of sin (Genesis 3:17; Matthew 18:7). We also know that this will not persist forever; God will make the world right again (Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 19:28; Acts 3:21; Revelation 21-22). While we are waiting for this to happen, it is helpful to remember that there are no instances of truly gratuitous evil and human suffering. That is, we must believe that God is orchestrating all things—good or bad—for the purpose of bringing about greater goods. Of course, as fallen, limited creatures, we are often unable to predict what greater good God is accomplishing through any specific instance of evil and suffering. Sometimes, however, God “peels back the curtain” and lets us get a glimpse of some of the greater goods He has in mind. Recently we heard from Brittany, the young blind woman who was baptized a few weeks ago. She shared with us that she had been a drug addict for many years, leading a life that was far from God, harmful to herself and others. Her sudden blindness, a tragedy to be sure, was used by God to effectively cut her off from her drug suppliers. Through God’s providential care, she took up residence at the House of Hesed, where her freed mind could properly understand and receive soul-saving truth. In her experience, a tragic loss led to an unspeakably great gain. Such real world examples encourage our hearts and strengthen our resolve. May contemplating these things cause us to sing: “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered!” (Psalm 40:5). Praise God indeed!