By Grant Hawley
There are things that happen in this world that are so horrible that it hurts to think about. We had one of those things happen here in the United States just the other day. I intended to write this sooner, but it just hurt too much. It still does, really. I have a son who's just turned four and he's got my heart in his beautiful, grubby little hands. I can't fathom what the parents of those kids are going through.
Evil is a reality and it can come in the form of a person or even in the form of a natural disaster (Satan is "the prince and the power of the air," Eph 2:2). And the first thing many wonder when it strikes in such horrific fashion is "Why, God?" Some even blame Him.
I'd like to try to encourage you from Scripture about this.
God Didn't Do This, an Evil Man Did
In Isa 45:7 God says He "creates calamity [KJV, evil]" and many use this to lay the blame for this kind of thing on the Lord. This is not what this verse means. God is referring to temporal judgment that He sends on the wicked. There are lots of examples of this in Scripture. 1 Kgs 9:9 is a good place to start. God does not create sin, but He does judge. Sandy Hook is an example of sin, not judgment.
God didn't make us robots. One of the greatest gifts He has given us is the gift of a free will. God does limit our choices at times, but the freedom to choose our course of action is ours.
I don't like the meme answer to the tragedy of school shootings that "God isn't allowed in schools." Our culture does breed the kind of evil that happened in Sandy Hook, so that's accurate as far as it goes. And we should certainly rethink the way we raise our children. But, God is everywhere and His arm isn't shortened by our misguided laws and policies.
But free will is free will, and sometimes people use their free will to harm and even to kill others.
We must also recognize,though, that God is not done dealing with people after they die. His judgment is righteous and good and no one—not even a child who dies—is dealt with unfairly. In fact, the Bible hints strongly that children who die will go on to live in Christ's Kingdom. He will make it right. He is both good and able, and we do ourselves a great service if we trust Him in that.
God Works All Things According to the Counsel of His Will
Ephesians 1:11 says God "works all things according to the counsel of His will." Many use this verse to suggest that God is the direct cause of everything that happens; but that isn't what the verse means, nor is it true. It means that God works in all things, even in the evil of man, to bring about good. The greatest example of this is the betrayal of Jesus at the hand of Judas. What could be worse than torturing and killing the God-Man, the most precious being Who is the source and purpose of all creation (Col 1:15-19)? Yet, God used that to accomplish a propitiation, a satisfactory payment, for all mankind. The salvation of the world was made from the ashes of the most horrible act in human history.
I don't know what good God will work from the awfulness of Sandy Hook, but I know He will work it for good. I know at least that God has used it to create in many a longing for His return.
Jesus Will Come In Judgment
Usually when we use the term, "the gospel" we refer to the good news of the death and resurrection of Christ for us. But the Bible speaks of other good news too. There's the gospel of the Kingdom, that the King was here and the kingdom long promised was near. And there's also what is called "the everlasting gospel" which is the good news that Christ will bring judgment against evil in this world (see Rev 14:6). Why is this good news? It is good news because the world will no longer be tormented by the evil we are swimming in. Now, "the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 John 5:19). But it won't always be that way.
Righteousness Will Rule Forever
Jesus, the Coming King, is righteousness. The throne of the world is His and He will wrest it from Satan's fiery grip and take His rightful place. For a thousand years, Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit and Righteousness will rule this world (Rev 20:1-6). He will only be released for a short time before he is finally destroyed and cast into the Lake of Fire for everlasting torment (Rev 20:7-10). Forever and ever, evil will be a thing of the past.
Jesus will reign from a city made of gold and precious stones that measures 1500 miles square with buildings 1500 miles high. The Lamb of God will illuminate the city with His own glory so that there will be no need for the sun or the moon in it. And God's children will shine with the reflection of His glory. There will be no more death, no more sin, no more tears. Forever and ever, God will pour out the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:7).
This world is really a pit sometimes, but it's temporary and isn't our home. So, brothers and sisters, take courage and lift up your eyes to gaze upon the Lord in His glory. And don't keep this truth to yourselves. The world is grasping for answers in all the wrong places and you have the Truth they need, Jesus, the Son of God , the coming King. It's time to get to work encouraging the downtrodden.