As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
sovereignty |ˈsäv(ə)rən(t)ē| noun: supreme power or authority
evil |ˈēvəl| noun: profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force • a manifestation of this, especially in people’s actions • something that is harmful or undesirable
I ask God (too many times to count) why he did not allow us to discover the abuse before it spread like wildfire through my family. I ask God why Asher responded to his own sexual reactivity by molesting his siblings. I ask God why our family could not be spared the pain of this deeply humiliating sin. I ask God all the questions, but I rarely get satisfactory answers. Mostly, I believe that is because what would satisfy me, in my immediate flesh, is for God to acknowledge that he somehow blew it. Praise Jesus! that isn’t going to happen. I couldn’t be steadfast in the face of every up and down if I served a fickle deity.
But it still leaves me a bit uneasy and begs the larger question of how God can be sovereign and evil still exist.
The kindergarten answer that I give my children goes something like this: God knew that his goodness and holiness would shine brightest against a backdrop of pain and evil. Like the black velvet that jewelers use to display their most precious diamonds, God has chosen to display his precious character against the backdrop of sin and depravity.
But the real answer is that I don’t fully understand it myself. Here is what I do know:
*God is sovereign and nothing happens without his permission. [Psalm 135:6, Colossians 1:16-17]
*Evil exists but God is not evil. [1 John 5:19, James 1:13]
*All humankind has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. [Ezekiel 18:25, Romans 3:23]
*We are responsible for our own choices. [Galatians 6:7]
*God did not spare his own son so that we might be reconciled to him. [Isaiah 53:5]
*God is always good and only does what is best for me. [Psalm 136:1, Romans 8:28]
Some may wonder how I can receive comfort from a biblical understanding of God’s permissive will, at the least, being active in the heartache confronting my family. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if I understood God to be somehow unable to stop these events from occurring?
My answer is a resounding NO!
It is my pride alone that truly bears the devastation brought about by my desire to have a God incapable of thwarting this ugliness. For when I recognize that God is sovereign, and that he allowed (and perhaps purposed) this pain in my life, I must acknowledge that I do not know best. I must also acknowledge that my efforts to be godly, Christ-like, and honorable do not buy me out of suffering. I am not so worthy as to expect better treatment than Jesus Christ, God’s own son.
However, when I truly press into Christ as my sovereign Lord then may I take comfort knowing there is purpose in every moment, every detail, every minuscule amount of pain. Nothing is wasted. He holds all things together by his word of power, and I can be assured that this season in my life is not outside of that intentional work.
I don’t understand why God chose this path for me, for my husband, and for our children. I grieve the loss of innocence and happiness. But I will stand in glory thankful that it was not in vain.