Is God in complete control of everything that happens in my life? Does He bring “bad” things into my life? Isn’t God perfect, and doesn’t that mean that only holy and good things can come from His hand?
Let’s take a look at what the Scriptures say about this topic.
1. Let me be clear, in saying that God does not do evil, nor does he cause us to do evil. Therefore, if it is from the hand of God, it is always good.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. James 1:13
2. Trials and difficulties (temporary struggles), along with “thorns” (permanent afflictions), are sometimes given to us by God Himself – sometimes for correction, due to our bad choices and sometimes for training, in order to make us more like Himself.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Proverbs 12:1
Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. Hebrews 12:10b
3. Sometimes, heartache and pain are allowed by God, but they are authored by Satan.
I do not usually post this large of a passage, but I want you to read this and maybe gain a new perspective on your grief. We are able to see the interaction between God and Satan, a scene we are not able to witness in our own struggles. Even in Job’s trials, God never revealed the heavenly encounter. This should give us assurance that God is in control – all the time and over everything. (Notice how God actually brings attention to and directs Satan to Job.)
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
(Job 1:13-19 – Job lost everything he had, including all of his children and their families.)
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil [or disaster]?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 1:6-12, 20-22; 2:1-10
4. When God allows it, He is going to give us the strength to endure and to overcome it.
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. II Corinthians 12:7
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
5. When God allows it, He will use it for our good and for His glory…every time.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. Genesis 50:20a
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12:8-10
(Jesus foretells Peter’s denial) “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2012. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp25p01-28-13