Consider this…Adam and Eve never thanked God for their health or for the beautiful garden in which they lived. They never thanked God for the fact that none of the plants or animals died. They did not thank God for the mild climate in which they lived never having to worry about extreme heat or extreme cold. They never thanked God for never having to be hungry or thirsty. Why not?
Because they did not know that there was such a thing as death, or sickness, or disease or hunger or thirst. They had never seen anything die; they had never been too cold or too hot. It was not that they were ungrateful for what they had; they simply did not know anything about the consequences of sin.
How could they know what death was until they had experienced it? How could they know hunger and thirst unless they had experienced it?
They could not thank God for and appreciate all that God had given them because they did not know what disease, cold, thirst, death and misery was.
All this changed when sin entered into their lives, and God used this momentous event to the advantage of Adam and the entire human race. Now we can appreciate God’s love and caring for us because we know what the alternatives are. We can love God for Himself; love Him because we want to, not because we have to or for what we can get out of Him.
God Uses Evil to Show us Love
God uses death to give us life; despair brings hope; sickness gives way to health; misery shows us joy. God has placed us on the earth amongst that which is the exact opposite of what His love and goodness are, so that we can know by comparison His love for us.
Can we truly know light if we do not experience darkness? Can we really know true love if we do not know what hate is?
Jesus said in John 12: 24: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”
False religions have taught us to pick out only the “good” things from God, but God has fixed it so that we will experience tribulation no matter what we do. In so doing we learn maturity and we will be drawn closer to the very heart of God.
Satan is very much a tool in God’s hands. The enemy is the opposite of what God is, and by exposing us to His opposite, we come to know and appreciate the true character of our Father. This flies in the face of the “gospel of circumcision,” because this gospel rejects suffering believing that suffering comes directly and only from the devil.
We are in danger of becoming so devil-conscious that we see every negative or opposite event as something that is beyond God’s control. In our own strength we resist and try to rectify the situation. Could it be that God is trying to reach out to you on a deep level of His character? How many a true heart has been to the very bottom of a trial, and in surrender to the Father has said, “Father, your will be done. I leave my circumstances in Your hands.”
Does this mean that we must not resist evil? Certainly not! We are to fight evil wherever we find it, but let us not be blinded to the fact that even evil is used by God to achieve His will.
Another example: His brothers had sold Joseph into slavery, but God’s plan for Joseph’s life included the evil that was done to him. In fact it was God that promoted his ordeal, but see what Joseph says to his brothers about this turn of events.
Genesis 50:20: “But as for you, you meant evil for me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
Joseph saw through the trials of life to God. He recognized that his life was used by God to achieve something good. Only the Holy Spirit could reveal this to Joseph. We too should see through our circumstances and situations to Christ who is our life; we have only one life, and that life is Christ. It is truly remarkable and wonderful to discover that God has made it so that…
WHENEVER THE ENEMY WINS, HE LOSES.
And God has fixed it so that…
WHENEVER WE LOSE, WE WIN.
Living the Christ-life means to live above and beyond circumstances. We must accept trials and tribulations as part of our maturing process. In fact we are instructed to thank God for them. It is only when you are in this position of complete surrender and reliance on God the Father that you can with absolute confidence quote…
Romans 8:28: “And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good for those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Romans 37-39: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.”
The most important three words in this verse are “And we know.” If you don’t know it, it does not have the full benefit for you as God intended it to.
Romans 4:15 supports the above verse. “For ALL THINGS are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”
How else can we: “Give thanks always for ALL THINGS to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
How else could Paul say these words in Philippians 4:11-13?
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU IN YOUR LIFE,
ULTIMATELY, YOU WIN.
Romans 8:37: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Consider the words of 2 Corinthians 2:14: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
The Romans were pagans, and it was customary in Roman times when a conqueror led the captives through the streets of Rome in a triumphant parade, to have incense burning as a thanksgiving to the gods for giving victory over the enemy. This incense was the smell of victory to the Romans, and the smell of death to the captives. Paul knew this only too well. See what he says as he continues in verses 15 and 16:
“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.”
The Old Testament too is full of encouragement for the downtrodden people of God.
Habakkuk 3:17-19: “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor the fruit be on the vines: though the labour of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food: though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength: He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”
As a study aid, may we suggest that you marinade yourself in the following portions of Scripture: Romans Chapters 5- 8, 12; 1 Corinthians chapter 3; 2 Corinthians chapters 4-5; Galatians chapters 1-4; Ephesians, chapters 1-3; Colossians chapters 1- 3; Philippians Chapters 1-3 ; 1 Thessalonians chapters 1- 3; 2 Thessalonians chapters 1-3; 1 John chapters 1-3.