April 20, 2021

He Uses Evil for Good

Written by Shana Schutte

Nothing is ever wasted in God’s economy.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 20, 2021

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

People have been asking why God allows evil in the world since the beginning of time. Why does He allow bad things to happen? Why does He allow people to hurt one another? Why does He allow death, disease, and emotional and relational pain? Why do disasters happen? Why do nations battle? 

I imagine there are many reasons, some of which I do not understand. But one clear reason is so He can draw people to Himself. 

A great example of this truth is in Acts 7 where the story of Stephen’s stoning is recorded. When Stephen was testifying about Christ to the Jewish Sanhedrin, the council became so angry that they rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death (Acts 7:57-58).

If we look at what happened to Stephen with eyes that discount God’s presence, or with a perspective that ignores the Lord’s providence or love, it seems evil has won. There appears to be no reason for God to allow such persecution. 

But we must remember that God doesn’t see things the way we do. His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). And, what seems like evil without purpose is always allowed by the Lord for good.

Christ never allows a sifting, shattering, heartbreak, hurt, trial, tumult, persecution, or problem without reason. God uses all things in His Kingdom for redemption (Romans 5:3-5). Nothing is ever wasted in His economy. 

In Stephen’s case, his stoning set off a tidal wave of persecution that scattered the Lord’s followers, (with the exception of the apostles), throughout the provinces of Judea and Samaria. (Acts 8:1)

This meant more people could hear about Christ and learn of His love. Because of persecution—not in spite of persecution—the gospel spread. “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (Acts 8:4).

This is a reminder that God uses evil for good. It’s a reminder that what brings temporary discomfort for us could mean eternal blessings for someone else. And it’s also a reminder that we do ourselves a mighty favor when we remember that He is the Potter and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8) and that our lives are not our own (Jeremiah 10:23).

This is what the believers who were scattered experienced. But I wonder how they must have felt. They had experienced close fellowship with one another. Undoubtedly, they shared a profound fullness of joy in Jesus through their community.

And then. . . to have their normal lives ripped away, what pain! And also, what joy mingled in with sorrow too as they were scattered and were able to share Jesus’ love everywhere they went.  

During difficult times, we must remember that the Lord doesn’t waste anything, not even the worst things. We must remember that He works all things out according to His good and perfect will (Ephesians 1:11), for His good and our glory (Romans 8:28).

We must also remember that life most often makes sense in the rearview mirror. Therefore, the hurt you experience now may not seem that it serves any purpose. But you will understand, either in the here and now or the then and there. 

“So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (2 Corinthians 4:12).

Prayer

Lord, when things don’t make sense, help me remember to keep your perspective. You are never shocked, out of control, absent or uninvolved. You are all-powerful, all loving and you always work all things out according to the counsel of your perfect will. I praise you that this world is not my home and that one day it will all make sense.


Application

If you are struggling with the temptation to sin to get your desires fulfilled, turn to the Lord and perhaps even a trusted counselor to help you deal with your grief.


Related Reading

James 1:12; Romans 8:35-39; Genesis 50:20

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