“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.”
2 Corinthians 4:8
One of the great perplexities of life is when the evil doing of others affects you. The setting can vary from family situations to interactions among neighbors or co-workers to dealings with evil governments. How does this fit with the will of God?
In his classic book on brokenness, The Calvary Road, Roy Hession makes a pertinent point. It is not the will of God for others to do evil, but when their evil affects you, it is God’s will for you. Often, the evil that adversely affects you is beyond your control. But God is still God. We can trust His providence in what He allows to impact us.
These perplexing times call for more than passivity. These are times for actively trusting the Lord to work for good the difficulties we face and cannot control. These are times where we can cast our burdens on the Lord, trusting Him to sustain us. Some evil may present opportunities to witness and let the light of Jesus shine brighter because of the greater darkness—and this is especially true in times of persecution.
These perplexing moments are opportunities to love God by truly depending on Him alone. “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” (Romans 8:28). Only God can bring good out of evil. But He can. We live in a fallen world. Hurts take place. People live selfishly and do wrong, and sometimes their choices affect us without our choice. What follows, though, is our choice. We can get bitter, we can despair, or we can actively cling to God even though we may not understand. Faith responses open the door for God to sustain, deliver, turn the tables, or accomplish whatever He deems best.
John Van Gelderen