September 11, 2012

The Presence of Evil

It puzzles me that people question the presence of God when evil is so blatant, but ignore His presence when everything's going fine. The presence of evil does not indicate the absence of God - it indicates the presence of evil (!) and our desperate need for redemption... a redemption only God, Himself can provide.

As a society, we have scorned God and His ways:

Our society views the murder of unborn children as "a woman's right," but wants to protect the children who make it safely out of the womb.  This is insane. 

As a society, we accept violent video games such as "Kindergarten Killer 2," and yet react with horror when this is played out in real life. 

As a society, we advocate for stricter laws on gun ownership,  refusing to recognize that criminals do not obey these laws... that's why they're called criminals.

As a society, we no longer want God's presence acknowledged in our schools or other "public" venues,  but we ask for His comfort when evil strikes. 

As a society, we are headed down the road of "equal marriage rights," ignoring the fact that God designed and defined marriage for His purposes a few thousand years ago.  He defines morality; and a moral wrong does not make a "civil right."

I grow weary of the news of the day; the battle of right and wrong; the wrongness of the wrongs; the blatant rejection of what God says is right.  The presence of evil in individuals and in nations makes me sad at times; sometimes furious; other times, just weary. Sometimes it takes me by surprise; but it does not catch God off guard.  He has been dealing with evil for a very long time, and will, in His own time, deal with it permanently.  Psalm 37 admonishes me: "Fret not yourself because of evildoers... because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.  Cease from anger and forsake wrath: don't fret and plot evil."  In this verse, fret means to "heat oneself in vexation; to be hot, furious." 

Psalm 37 goes on to explain the why behind not fretting: The wicked will perish.  All those who set themselves against God and His judgments will perish.   But those who love Him have an inheritance that will last forever. This psalm also admonishes those who love the Lord to trust in Him, to delight in Him, to do good, to rest in Him and wait patiently for Him. This patient waiting for Him to act, will keep me from fretting my way into doing evil to those who are doing evil. 

Confronting my own innate evil nature humbles me, and I gratefully live in the grace and forgiveness of my Redeemer.  But as I live in a world that is unredeemed, and watch evil continue to bring pain and destruction to so many lives, I find myself overwhelmed with the evilness of evil.  And so, I return to Scripture and God's perspective:  "The Lord brings the plans of the nations to nothing and thwarts their schemes. But the Lord's plans stand firm forever. His intentions can never be shaken."   (Psalm 33:10-11)  This is what I'm counting on.  This is what brings me peace in the presence of evil.