“Bad things happen to good people.” Words I've often heard spoken, and even experienced myself. Sadly, it's the reality of those words that have caused many Christians to ‘throw in the towel’ on their faith in God. Then join the thousands who decide to not ‘believe’ in a God who allows horrid , unthinkable evils to befall the innocent and those unable to defend themselves, let alone His own children.
In John 17, the Bible tells us we live in a fallen world. A world that is corrupt and evil and subject to decay. Many Christians believe that as long as they live in this world, they have no option but to suffer along with it. They must share in disease, defeat, poverty and failure, along with those around them. They've even accepted this by believing their misfortune is God's way of teaching them a lesson in humility, a way of catching their attention so they can be more devoted to Him, a way to make them love and trust Him more.
We know that in Old Testament times, because of the original sin, the curse called the law of sin and death, was instated. If God’s people didn't conform to the law, and all it's obligations and rituals, they would find themselves out of His protection and favour. The Bible says that to perfectly conform to the law was actually impossible. That's why sacrifices for the atonement of sin had to be consistently made. This rigorous, lawful ‘relationship’ between God and His people was never His intention. Time and again, He attempted to convince them to love and respond to Him out of personal desire and not fear. But the law of sin and death made this an almost impossible reality. Even those who did choose to love Him and respond to His kindness couldn't live flawless lives, and because of the law, had to suffer the consequences. When God’s people abandoned His ways and sought after their own, or the ways of neighbouring pagan nations, the only thing that brought them back to Him was the consequence of the curse, often in the form of calamity and devastation. Their ‘salvation’ was based on works, and under the curse, punishment for their wandering ways was the only way to bring them back to it.
But thank God for Jesus! According to the Word of God, in Him we have a new covenant! We are no longer subject to the curse and its law of sin and death. Now it's by grace, through faith that we are saved. His blood completely eradicated our sin, when He bore it on the cross. He suffered the punishment for it, once and for all. Now we are free to embrace His forgiveness and enjoy a relationship with Him based on His great love. It's His kindness towards us that leads us to repentance. Our devotion to God is no longer motivated out of fear, it's motivated out of knowing that He loves us unconditionally. And from the moment His Spirit takes residence in us, His incorruptible nature becomes ours. As we remain in His Word and intimate fellowship with Him, our hearts are constantly drawn to His ways and we willingly cling to them because of His goodness and faithfulness towards us. We adore Him and worship Him because of His loving kindness that is better than life and His tender mercies that are new every morning. We worship Him because His Word is true and every promise in it is available for us to enjoy and live free and healthy and victorious in a world that is not.
You see, health, prosperity, success and victory in this life are all God's ideas. They are His purpose for us. You will find them written in each of His promises. It is true, that while we live in this world that is riddled with evil, we are certainly going to encounter it. But evil things, calamity and devastation are not manipulated by God to teach us a lesson or compel us to come back to Him. Even though for some people, hardships may just have that affect on them, under the new covenant, we can be sure God did not cause them. Jesus said in John 16:33, "...In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration;..". But then He goes on to say, "but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]"
How is it possible for us to live in the reality of that promise - as over comers in this evil world? Oh I'm so pleased you asked that question. In John 17, Jesus has this very same conversation with His Father, and in verse 17, He asks the Father to sanctify us (purify, consecrate, separate us for Himself, make us holy) BY THE TRUTH. God's Word is Truth. We are separated to God, from the evils in this world through the Word of truth!
In the Old covenant, God’s people were separated to Him by having to fulfil the law and suffer under its consequences. In the New covenant, we are separated to Him by His Word that is written, by Him, on our hearts.
God's Word, alive in our hearts, produces FAITH and makes the promises of God our reality, while we live right here, in the midst of chaos and mess! As God's Word becomes our living reality, it takes us from trouble to triumph every time! Even when bad, horrible things happen - because we live in a world that is dominated by sin - we do have a God who will ALWAYS lead us through, like a good shepherd, into victory and peace. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, "But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere,"
1 John 5:4 says, "For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith." It's time for us to realise who we are in this world and Who our God is. He does not cause bad things to happen to us to draw us to Him. Bad things happen because we live in a world that is cursed. But Jesus overcame that evil for us. We are victorious because we are born of God, and our victory comes through our faith that is produced by His Word that we live by. His Word that is alive in our hearts! Don't settle for anything less child of God! Live like Jesus intended for you to live - free from fear and victorious over evil. Even though you are in this world, no matter what it throws against you, the Spirit of Christ lives within you, and you have faith from His Word, to overcome - every time.
All my love,