This question is frequently a great challenge for us.
We live in a tragically fallen world. We strive continually against our
own inner depravity. We cling to Christ for the power to destroy the
constant pull of our own sin nature. Many of us suffer much affliction.
We are sobered by the truth of Ps 34:19 Ė that many are the
afflictions of the righteous. But we also are comforted by this same
verse in which the Lord promises to deliver His children through all
As a result of evil and the fallen condition of our
world, we see so many suffer in our families, our community, our Nation
and throughout the world. Life can be very difficult, even dreadful for
many. The compassion of Christ causes us to grieve when we see so many
suffer. Christís love causes us to grieve for our family and friends
[Matt 5:4]. Godís love also stretches our hearts to internalize the
pain of anyone who suffers. In this divine love, we are to love and pray
for those who are our enemies, Matt 5:44. In the context of those
who would harm us, our "enemies", the Lord instructs us not to be
overcome by evil, but rather to overcome evil with good Rom 12:21.
We are to bless those who seek to persecute and "curse" us, Rom
12:20, 1 Pet 3:9.
As we were reminded the last two Sunday mornings in
2 Cor 4:1 Ė "we do not lose heart". We remain steadfast. We do
not shrink back even in the midst of unimaginable hardship like the
Apostle Paul details in this letter to Corinth. Paul suffered often at
the hands hands of those who treated him with cruelty, and under the
affliction of ministering the gospel to others [see for example,
2 Cor 11:21-31].
We do not lose heart because we have received the
precious gift of ministry of the transforming glory of the gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel is transforming us into the image of
Christ, 2 Cor 3:18.
It transforms all who receive the good news that we share. Even those
who reject this good news have been offered the greatest treasure in the
universe Ė eternal life through the blood of Christ, the "pearl of great
price", Matt 13:45-46, which is infinitely more valuable than
anything else life could provide.
The Lord works all things together for good for His
children, Rom 8:28. This includes terrible circumstances, hurtful
people and demonic spirits. Nothing can happen to us apart from Godís
sovereign will. He reigns supreme over all things, Ps 103:19, Eph 1:11.
Thus we are to rejoice always, Phil 4:4. "We exult in our
tribulations" knowing their perfect, divinely intended
result," perseverance", "proven character", "hope", and the experience of
Godís satisfying "love", Rom 5:3-5.
Too often we cannot understand the Lordís higher ways
and thoughts. They are above our own like the heavens are immeasurably
above the earth, Is 55:8-9.
So we are not to lean on our own understanding, but in everything
we are to acknowledge the need to submit to Godís
perfect will, Prov 3:5-6, so that through our submission the Lord
can direct our lives according to His infinite wisdom and love, Rom
Godís higher agenda for our lives is to make us like
Jesus Christ, Eph 1:19,2 Cor 3:18,
Rom 8:28-29. If necessary, the Lord will
not hesitate to further His higher agenda by means of allowing us to
suffer evil and hardship. The Lordís power, love, holiness and wisdom
merge to govern evil so that its results are always perfect in our lives
if we respond to the trial with enduring faith,
1 Cor 10:13. The Lord
does not make mistakes with regard to our lives. He does not do wrong
with regard to the lives of everyone born into this world. All of the
Lordís ways are perfect, Ps 18:30. There are countless examples
of this in Scripture. Let me list just a few: Joseph [Gen 50:20],
Job, Ahab [1 Kings 22:13-40],
Paul [2 Cor 12:7], Peter and the d isciples [Luke 22:31],
the unparalleled devastation of evil through the
Antichrist throughout the seven year tribulation "seventieth week of
Daniel", [Dan 9:27, Rev 4-18], and our Lord Jesus Christ when He
died on the cross for our sins, [Acts 2:22-24].
we need to heed the wise instruction given to us in Ps 62:8: