Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Questions: Is God at work ONLY when good things happen to us? Or is God working when ‘bad’ things happen to us as well as ‘good’ things? How can we know when what we perceive as a ‘bad’ thing is actually a ‘good’ thing? If what we want would eventually destroy our souls, is what we want a ‘bad’ thing or a ‘good’ thing?

Was God at work when Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter? Was God at work when Moses killed the Egyptian? Was God at work when Moses fled to the wilderness? Was God at work at the burning bush? Was God at work when Moses finally agreed to return to Egypt to lead Israel out of Egypt?

Was God at work in the ten incredible events? Yes. Was that a miserable time for some people? Yes. Was God at work when Israel left Egypt at night? Yes. Was that a convenient moment to begin an exodus journey? No. Was God at work in the wilderness? Yes. Was that a wonderful, simple vacation experience? No. Was God at work when Israel conquered Canaan? Yes. Did Israelites die in that conflict? Yes. Do you think that was ‘family fun time’ for those grieving the losses?

Consider. Was the fall to the Babylonians fun? No. Was the Babylonian captivity fun? No. Was God at work? Yes. Were Daniel and other righteous people taken captive? Yes. When Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem’s walls, was it ‘fun time’? No. Was God at work? Yes.

What about the crucifixion of Jesus? Or the death of James? of Paul? of Peter? of a number of Christians? of persecutions? of imprisonments? of riots in protest of faith in Jesus Christ?

Is our attitude to be ‘if it’s good, God is at work; if it’s bad, God is absent’? Is a real war between God’s purposes and Satan’s anger raging? If so, will there be casualties? Can God’s purposes be accomplished as surely through the wounding or death of Christians as certainly as through good things happening to Christians?

To me this is an obvious truth throughout the Bible: God works through sacrifice as well as reward. God’s people do not belong to Him because they cannot be touched by evil circumstances. God’s people belong to Him because evil circumstances cannot defeat them. Because they are so strong? No! Because in any circumstance, Satan is NEVER bigger than God.

Christians place full confidence in Jesus’ cross! They place equal confidence in Jesus’ empty tomb! Evil may hurt any of us physically, but it cannot stop the triumphant resurrection of every person in Jesus Christ! Because we are good? No! Because God is good! Of that there is no question in the heart of every Christian man or woman!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 30 March 2006

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