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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Scripture And A Christmas Song To Comfort You About Friday’s Shootings

Friday’s shootings

What happened at Sandy Hook School is tragic beyond words.  I have felt angered, sickened, and heart-broken.

But when something horrible happens, not only can it break our hearts, it can also shake our faith.

So how can we avoid having our faith be shaken?

What helped me

One Scripture that helped me is Genesis 50:20.  Joseph’s brothers had committed evil against him by selling him into slavery.

And here’s what he says about their actions —

As for you, you meant evil against me.

So Joseph did not whitewash it.  He called it as it was — evil.

And that’s what we should do — call evil EVIL — and hate it, be angered by it, and weep over it (Rom 12:9).

But if we stop there, we can easily despair.  And Joseph does not stop there.  Here’s the entire verse —

As for you, you meant evil against me.  But God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

God meant it for good

This might be hard to swallow.  It was for me when I first thought about it years ago.  And it raises questions I can’t answer.

But God’s Word teaches that people who commit evil are fully responsible for their actions — AND that God has sovereignly purposed their actions to bring about great good.

The Cross is the clearest example of this.  The men who nailed Jesus to the Cross committed the worst evil ever.  But notice what Peter says about their actions —

Jesus [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.  (Acts 2:23)

Their evil actions were done according to the definite plan of God.  What they meant for evil — God meant for good.  God never does evil — but God ordains evil.  God has a wise, loving, and good purpose for every evil that occurs.

Seeing all of God’s heart

So what does God feel when He sees evil occurring?  There are at least three answers — and it’s important to understand them all.

When evil occurs —

  • God feels righteous anger — just, righteous anger at the sin and wickedness.
  • God feels deep sadness — weeping with those who weep because of their hurt and loss.
  • God feels strong peace — knowing that His loving purpose for this evil will be fulfilled, bringing about great good.

So with these truths about God —

How should we respond to Friday’s tragedy?

I suggest that we —

  • Hate the evil (Rom 12:9).
  • Weep with those who weep, knowing they face a long road of grief and healing (Rom 12:15).
  • Pray for the families who lost loved ones (Matthew 7:7-11).
  • Long for the new heavens and earth where every tear will be wiped away, every wrong will be righted, and death will be no more (Rev 21:4).
  • Help lost people trust Jesus Christ, so they can know the God who will comfort them in every trial (2Cor 1:3-5).
  • Rest in God’s sovereignty, knowing that He is in control, and that every evil will bring about great good (Psa 46:10).

Let this Christmas song help

This song asks how we can sing of peace on earth and good will to men, when the world has so much hate.  Good question.

Here’s the answer — no matter how bleak things look, God is not dead nor does he sleep.

Let this song strengthen your faith —

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-GTtPgHfwQ

How did this song impact you?

I’d love to hear.  Leave a reply below.  Thanks.

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8 Responses

  1. Paul Walton says:

    Steve,
    I think it is important to point out that God is not the author of evil, which is much different than allowing (ordaining) evil to exist. I was thinking this morning that God could have chose not to place the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. He could have created an environment where Adam and Eve wouldn’t have the ability to choose to trust Him or choose to disobey, but then their will’s would not be truly free.

    True love must allow a person the option of choosing, and we all being the seed of our first parents would have chose as they did. Sin at it’s core is choosing to disobey God’s will, and choosing to live out ours. When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, His reply was that we should pray that God’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven, because in heaven there are no tears, no pain, no sin, because God’s perfect will reigns there.

    A day is coming when all wrongs will be made right, when God’s will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven, and all who have surrendered their will’s, willingly to God’s, shall reign with Him forever.

    But for now we live in a fallen world, and the battle between good and evil ordained by God rages on. We all with creation groan for a new world and heavens when all evil is finally destroyed, and God’s will shall ultimately be done.

    Come Lord Jesus.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Good thoughts, Paul (as usual).

      I see the Bible teaching both that people genuinely choose, and that God ordains our choices.

      There’s huge mystery here — but it’s taught throughout God’s Word.

      So if someone does evil to me, I can say with Joseph both that they meant to do that evil against me. And I can say that God meant that they do that evil against me in order to bring great good to me (Gen 50:20).

      But because God’s purpose is good — God’s ordaining of that evil is not evil.

      Again — lots of mystery here. But I believe that’s what is taught in God’s Word, and I find great comfort in it.

      • Paul Walton says:

        Steve,
        I actually agree that God ordains that evil should exist, for He is sovereign over all things. My point was that God is not the author of evil, He ordained, or purposed that evil should exist, I think the tree in the garden is proof of this. Because of our first parent’s choice was to disobey God, that seed of rebellion has been past down to all their children.

        Our will now is not free, it is tainted with sin, we are now sinful through and through. Until God frees our heart from the power of sin, we will be a slave to it. Yes we have the freedom to choose, but unless God by His grace frees our heart, we will choose self over Him.

  2. learning every day says:

    And Jesus said, ‘Forgive them Father, they know not what they do,’

    I wonder how often he’s repeated that since then?

    And I am reminded of a comment I made here 3 weeks ago in the love and forgiveness section. Suffering can make you do 1 of 2 things. It can make you want to make other people suffer the way you have or can make you want to save them from it. There is always another ending.

    My thoughts for all families including Adam’s, left behind to deal with this loss. May they be looked after.

  3. Kit says:

    Thank you Paul. I agree. I was going to say something similar. I think saying the God “Ordains” evil is going too far. He “Allows” evil otherwise we would not be the free beings that we are. “God neither tempts with evil nor is tempted by evil” James 1:13. He hates evil and will judge it and soon rid the world of it but He is a
    “Allowing” it for a time as it’s a product of “OUR” nature… Not His.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Kit,

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

      It is crucial that we understand that God is not evil nor is anything that He does evil. You are absolutely right.

      But when it comes to Joseph’s brothers’ evil, Joseph actually says that God “meant” their evil. So Joseph could be comforted knowing that God had purposed their evil as a way to bring him great good.

      But the fact that God meant their evil for a purpose that was good and righteous and loving means that what God did was good and righteous and loving, not evil in any way.

      That’s what I mean when I say that God ordains evil for a good purpose.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

      • Paul Walton says:

        “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,…” -Romans 8:28-29

        God ordains that good shall overcome evil for His elect, He is working in our behalf in all matters to bring about good. It is not God’s will that evil should tempt us to stumble, but in the time of tempting that we would trust Him to deliver us from it. Foreknowledge means something real, God sees the evil coming our way, and because we are His elect He ordains that we will overcome it. He sees it, He allows it, He ordains it, but He is not the author of it.

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