February 22, 1995

Have Faith in God

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If God is not in control of everything—both the good and the bad—then we're in big trouble. Thankfully, the Book of Job helps us understand that the forces of evil are not running about in reckless abandon, wreaking whatever havoc they want on our world. That may seem like what is happening, but it's not so.

Satan is still under the thumb of a sovereign God. That is clear from the exchange the two had in the opening chapters of Job. Satan had to receive permission from God to unleash his onslaught of tests and temptations on Job, and he had to operate within the boundaries that God gave him. In round one, God said Satan could destroy all of Job's possessions, but he could not touch his health (Job 1:12). In round two, God allowed Satan to do whatever he wanted to Job physically, except take his life.

When terrible things happen around us—when mothers murder their children in cold blood, when ruthless dictators massacre thousands of innocent people, when a godly friend fights a losing battle with cancer, when we are overwhelmed by circumstances at work that we did not create—it's tempting to wonder if God is really in charge of the universe. While the rest of Scripture is clear that He is, it's still difficult to understand how a loving God could allow the forces of evil to pervade our world.

That's where faith comes in. We don't have all the answers. Until we get to heaven, we will never understand why bad things happen to good people. Satan and his demons definitely are at work among us, and their influence cannot be taken lightly. But rather than wring our hands and blame everything bad that happens to us on the devil, we can rest in the knowledge that God knows exactly what's going on down here on earth. He is in control. Satan may seem to win a skirmish every now and then—probably more frequently than we'd like—but his ultimate doom is sure.

When something bad happens to you, do you automatically chalk it up to spiritual warfare, or do you stop to acknowledge that God may have allowed it to happen for a very specific reason?

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