Dec 17, 2012
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 —
How did this song impact you?
I’d love to hear. Leave a reply below. Thanks.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful —
Does God Ordain Every Trial?
Spurgeon's Take On Trials
Dealing with Loss and Grief?
Asking Why? Here's God's Loving Purpose For Every Trial