Everything began with the creation of the world. God has literally created EVERYthing, including evil. God makes this clear in Isaiah 45:7, where He tells us: “[I] make light and create darkness, make peace and create evil, I the LORD make all these”. Why would God create evil? How could creating evil possibly be the work of a good God? How could God allow Adam and Eve to fall into sin? It’s easy to think that if God had not created a world in which sin were possible, life would be great. We wouldn’t suffer from the works of the sinful nature and from a world that is subjected to sin. One key thing to note when it comes to evil is that although God created evil, he never does anything evil. He has not created evil out of any evil that is within him, but rather he has allowed evil to exist by giving us the option to choose to live apart from relationship with him. Without relationship with God, evil has free reign, so it is in giving us this free choice that God has “created” evil. God NEVER has ANY part in promoting evil in the world. He is by default the opposite of evil and in his presence, evil cannot continue. Nonetheless, because evil is prevalent in this world at this time, God is always at work to turn what was meant for evil into good so that he might reveal His glory before us in despite the evil.
In John 9:1–38, we are told of a blind man who people believed God caused to be blind either because of something he did or because of something his family did. In verse 3, we see that this was not the case. Yeshua makes it clear that this man’s blindness was not a punishment for something bad he or his family did but rather an opportunity for the glory of God to be unveiled. In this instance, it is clear that God uses misfortune as an opportunity to reveal His great love for us.
In John 11:1–40, we are told of the death of Lazarus and the miracle that Yeshua did in raising him from the dead. Something that especially stands out in this is the fact that Yeshua takes his time getting to Lazarus. Yeshua already knows that the sickness will kill Lazarus but that he will resurrect him from the dead and so demonstrate the glory of God. He arrives two days “too late” and does what he does so that those present will believe. God’s ultimate goal is that we will know Him more and enter into a close and meaningful relationship with Him.
Both in the case of Lazarus and in the case of the blind man, we see how evil and misfortune can be used by God to reveal His glory.
This idea of God working in the midst of tough situations is not unfamiliar in the Scriptures. In fact, God brings us through all kinds of tough circumstances and stretches us in order to instill within us key things, such as hope and faith. With our limited foresight, we think that God’s love for us should be measured by how comfortable and enjoyable our life is. However, we must understand that a central characteristic of our God is that He is our savior and redeemer, our all in all. Without hardship in this life, we would not be able to know God because His helping us through hardship is a major part of who He is. Those hardships that we encounter in this life are opportunities for us to see God’s hand at work in our life.
The ultimate best outcome from hardship is a revelation of the glory of God. God doesn’t take away our hardship when we say yes to Yeshua. Instead, He offers us a hope that as He carries us through the hardships of this life, we will grow to see Him ever more clearly.
We must see in our hardships and in the challenges of the day to day opportunities to witness God in action. Hardship comes in many forms: a conflict that we have with someone, a tough exam in school, pressure at work, something that doesn’t work out like we had hoped, something of value to us that fell apart, or a struggle with some specific sin that we keep falling into. In all of these things we have the opportunity to see God work powerfully in and through us! Any sickness in our body, and sorrow around us, poverty, hunger… all these are opportunities to see the glory of God.
This very optimistic view of hardship and its value in no way means that we should desire hardship in our life. Hardship will come for different people in different ways and we must simply be ready to face it with the knowledge that God is able to work in and through even the toughest of circumstances. When we encounter hardships, we must ask the Holy Spirit: What does God want to show us in this circumstance? How does He want to work in this situation? We must learn to operate outside of our comfort zone because it’s there that God reveals Himself most powerfully to us. In Psalm 46:9, we read “Come, behold the works of the Lord, who has wrought desolations in the earth”.
God sometimes allows things to get to so messy and so disappointing that when He steps in, we realize that He can make even the hardest circumstances right. Our view of hardship changes when we understand that hardship is a sign that we are about to see the power of God in our life!
So the next time you realize you’re in a tough circumstance, challenge yourself to do the following:
- Give thanks to God that He causes all things to work together for good.
- Thank Him for inviting us into a personal relationship with Him.
- Pray and ask of the Holy Spirit to guide you and to help you understand exactly what God is seeking to teach us and to do in and through us.
- Ask God for the faith to let Him work in and through us to the fullest according to His will.
We often focus on the end without really appreciating everything that happens along the way, but often times, even if the end is some kind of hardship, God works powerfully in us and through us along the way. God desires to do a work in and through us that is eternal.