What are we to do when evil strikes and when life does not make sense? How are we to respond to someone who slaps us hard and looks at us with eyes of hate; when there is no apparent remorse for what has been done? It is tempting to try to hide from evil, to pull away from a world fraught with danger until things clear and we feel safe again. Truthfully, that is my first response when life gets hard. However, rather than curl up and hide, I have learned in my Christian walk to take a deep breath and respond to whatever challenge faced (be it my own or when helping someone else) according to the simple direction of James 1:5,
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
As the events of 9/11/2001 took place, I remember begging God for wisdom and perspective all that day and into the night. I felt tormented and did not know how to respond to such evil. Finally, as I was going to bed exhausted and confused these words came to me: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. God is good.” (The first part is from Romans 12:9b; the second served as a reminder as to where I could safely put my trust.) A sense of relief flooded my mind and heart as I reflected on the simple clarity imparted through those words. As I went to sleep I remember how the words continued to work through my mind and heart: “Hate what is evil . . . cling to what is good . . . God is good . . . .” I slept peacefully that night, finding my resting place in the hands of a loving God who is worthy of my trust despite the chaos in the world.
Since then, those words have continued to echo in my mind and heart, even as evil has continued to lurk and destroy. I have continued to see God’s goodness still holding the upper hand. This week though, I felt myself stumble inwardly as the tragedy in Boston took place and as I counseled three women hurt by the pain of rejection and betrayal. What to do? Deep down I realized I was tired of the hurting and done with the unfair suffering imposed on innocent people by the sin of others. Even so, I had to smile when the words came to my mind, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God . . . . ” My response was what I have learned to do, I took a deep breath and ran to the Scriptures, this time with my Clients. Focusing on I Peter 3:8 through the end of Chapter 4, it was the final verse that settled into our minds and hearts as it rendered this simple clarity and assurance:
“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
What would God have us do when bad things happen; when we are treated unfairly or betrayed by others? Are you tired and feel as if you have nothing left to give? God has cleared a simple path for you and me as He urges us to “continue to do good” by hating what is evil and clinging to Him for the strength and mercy we need to speak and act in love. We live in a fallen world, full of heartache and confusion; a world no different from the one two thousand years ago that rejected and betrayed its only Hope. God was faithful then and He continues to be now so . . . continue to do good as we trust HIM to deal with the ugliness of sin in this fallen world. Truly, HE IS WORTHY OF YOUR TRUST!
All to His Glory!