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Living In The Will of God, Part 3: God's Purpose in a Fallen World

By Charles Price


      Job 42

      Really? He's got the whole world in His hands? The song and the images seem very much in conflict, don't they - the images of terror, sadness, death, abuse, starvation, poverty. And yet we say He's got the whole world in His hands.

      You pick up any newspaper on almost any day of the week and you will find the key stories are about terror, about deceit, about war, about injustice, about incompetence.

      Are we simply being very glib when we sing "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" and we actually close our eyes to the pain and the tragedy of the real world in which we are a part?

      I want to talk about this a little bit this morning. We are talking over several weeks about living in the will of God. And of course many of us are very interested in this regarding our own personal lives, wanting to know about personal guidance and how we discern the will of God for me, and we are going to come to that.

      But we need to understand that against the background of the big picture. We need to see our own stories on the canvas of the big picture that the world presents to us. And I want to talk today about a dilemma that we face based on two different verses of Scripture.

      The first verse is in 1 John Chapter 5 and Verse 19 - 1 John 5:19. And John writes there,

      "We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one."

      Now that is a pretty depressing picture, but a very realistic picture. The whole world, says John, is under the control of the evil one.

      But the second verse I want to read to you is in the Old Testament and it seems to be in conflict with this where in Job Chapter 42 and Verse 1 and 2, at the end of a period of satanic attack and personal tragedy that Job experienced, it says,

      "Then Job replied to the LORD: I know that you can do all things and no plan of yours can be thwarted."

      Or as most translations will put it:

      "...and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted."

      Now I think that is a better word in this context.

      And here's the dilemma: How does the will of God and the purposes of God and the sovereignty of God fit into the fact that the whole world is in the control of the evil one?

      And this is not just an isolated sentence that appears once or twice. Jesus three times describes Satan as being prince of this world.

      2 Corinthians 4:4 says about the devil that he is the god of this age.

      In Ephesians 2:2 Paul describes him as being the ruler of the kingdom of the air.

      Now these are very lofty titles - the prince of this world, the god of this age, the ruler of the kingdom of the air. These are lofty titles and they are given to the devil.

      When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness in Luke Chapter 4, one of the temptations was this: it says in Verse 5 of Luke 4,

      "The devil led Jesus up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of this world. And he said to him" (now listen to this), " 'I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.'"

      What a stunning invitation! Was it Satan's to offer? Was this simply nonsense talk on the part of Satan?

      Well if it was, it would not have been a temptation. It was only a temptation if it had any substance to it. If it had no substance, Jesus would have very quickly called his bluff.

      If you came to me at the end of this meeting and you offered me the CN Tower for 50 bucks, I wouldn't take you seriously. It's not yours to offer (in all likelihood - I'm not sure who's here!).

      But Jesus gave dignity to this claim by Satan by answering it. And clearly, from all these statements, the devil has a pretty big foothold in our world. In fact, his fingerprints are all over the place. You don't have to go far, you don't have to watch very much to see the fingerprints of Satan all over the world.

      Yet, at the same time, how do we understand the confidence of Job, who has been through a horrendous period where he has been thrashed and pushed back and forth in all kinds of directions and he says to God,

      "I know you can do all things and no purpose of yours can be thwarted."

      And that is not an isolated statement either. Earlier in Job Chapter 23, Job says of God,

      "But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases.

      "He carries our his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store."

      In Psalm 135:6 it says,

      "The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and in their depths."

      And Scripture, when you read it through, is very clear that God is the ultimate authority over all things. He has titles such as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

      It tells us He is omnipotent. That means He is all-powerful. Therefore He is never beaten.

      He is omniscient - that means He knows everything there is to know, so He is never taken by surprise.

      He is omnipresent - that means He is in all places at all times, so He is never out of touch.

      He is the Creator so that everything that exists, exists by His will and choice. He is the sustainer of His creation.

      He is eternal - that means He has no beginning and no end. He predates everything that is. And He is ultimately judge before which the whole of history is accountable, because history is going to end before the judgement seat of Christ when He steps out of heaven and says in effect, "Ladies and Gentlemen, time is up. Please put everything down. Come this way." And every knee will bow.

      Scripture is unambiguous about the authority of God.

      Now it is a well-known argument that God cannot be both all-powerful and all-loving at the same time. The argument goes like this: If He is all-loving, then He cannot be all- powerful because if He was, He would have stopped the trouble, the suffering, the evil that seems to fight against the fact that He is a God of love.

      On the other hand, if He is all-powerful, then He can't be all-loving, because He would not allow the trouble, the suffering and the evil in the world to continue.

      So how do we answer this question?

      I want to talk about this, this morning, not simply as a theological exercise or a philosophical exercise. I want to talk about this because there are people here this morning and in your life there are things that have happened or things that are happening that don't make sense, that have devastated you.

      There will be those here this morning and you have lost a child and it doesn't make sense. And the pain of that loss lives with you. Or you have lost a loved one prematurely, unexpectedly and it doesn't make sense. Or there are health issues and you wonder why in the world doesn't this go away? Why doesn't God intervene because He hasn't and you have prayed a thousand times about the issue, and it continues and maybe gets worse?

      There are those of us here with disappointments, there are things we anticipate in life and they haven't worked out that way, and there seems little balm for the pain of those disappointments.

      A legitimate question that you ask is where is God in this? It's a big issue and I don't pretend we can address it fully or to everybody's satisfaction, and not to my satisfaction, in the time we have this morning.

      But I want to look at three things that are related to what is going on in the world when you look around, you look into your own life and your own circumstances. And I want to talk about what Scripture says about these things.

      I want to talk about natural factors that are at work in the world, first of all - natural factors.

      And then I want to talk about spiritual factors that are at work in the world. When Scripture talks about the fact that Satan is the prince of this world and that the whole world lies in the hands of the evil one - what does that mean?

      And then I want to talk about divine factors at work. What does Job mean? Is this purely wishful thinking when he says, "No purpose of yours can be thwarted"?

      It's very easy to say, "Everything has gone wrong; oh well, I just trust God has a purpose in it." But does He? And if He does, how do we understand it?

      Let me talk first about the natural factors that are at work. You see we live in a world that is fallen and is subject to certain natural laws that every one of us are subject to.

      In Matthew 5:45 Jesus said this - He said,

      "God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

      And what He is stating there is that there are certain things that happen in our world and believers don't get all the good stuff and unbelievers get the bad stuff and somehow we are protected from the bad stuff and unbelievers are not permitted the good stuff. No, He says we are subject to certain laws of nature where believers and unbelievers are equally subject; there is no discrimination in favour of one or over the other.

      So, for instance, in a flu epidemic, Christians get the virus as much as anybody else. Christians die in road accidents as much as anybody else will die in a road accident. If a plane crashes, the Christians don't get rescued and everybody else dies.

      Genetic factors that bring disease don't get cleaned up for the righteous, as Jesus describes them here - those who are right with God - and not for those who are not right with God.

      We like to think we might be exempt from some of these things, but we are not. We are not exempt from natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes.

      I remember several years ago in Indonesia talking to a man after the tsunami of, was it 2005 or 2004 that had such devastating effect in so many countries in the Indian Ocean.

      And he told me that his wife and his two children plus his father and mother had all drowned in the tsunami. He had been on higher ground that particular day doing something else. And he said to me (and this was a year or so after that event) that "every morning I go down to the seashore and I look out to the sea and I weep and I say to my wife and my kids, 'Come home.'"

      He was a Christian. He was not exempt from the disaster and the tragedy and the heartache that not only happened on that tragic day but which he lives with everyday.

      And many of you are living with things like that, that in your own life are painful. And Jesus says there are certain things that belong to all of us and the righteous and the unrighteous are in the same boat, so to speak.

      Jesus talked about this in Luke Chapter 13. There is an incident there where it says in Verse 1 that,

      "There were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices."

      Now we don't have any more information about that event but obviously something grotesque had taken place where Pontius Pilate, who was the Roman Governor, had mixed the blood of Galileans with pagan sacrificial offerings.

      "And Jesus answered" (Verse 2) " 'Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?'"

      "Do you think this was kind of some kind of morbid justice where the people who experienced this and gave their blood and presumably died, that there was something somehow worse about them? No."

      And then in Verse 4 He said this:

      "Those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them - do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?"

      Obviously some disaster had taken place in Siloam, which was a suburb of Jerusalem where the Pool of Siloam was. And there was obviously some tower there that had collapsed and in collapsing, there were eighteen people who had been crushed by it and killed by it.

      And Jesus said, "Do you think they were somehow guilty? That's why they experienced this and were killed?"

      He says, "No, the fall of the tower made no distinction between the good and the bad. The reason why these eighteen people were killed by the fall of the tower was they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - nothing to do whether they were good or bad.

      The point being that there are natural factors at work in our world. Bad things do happen to good people. Bad things happen to God's people. And at the same time good things happen to bad people. This is a reason why many people have struggled with understanding God when they see good things happening to bad people.

      In fact, Scripture several times talks about this. One time was a man called Asaph who wrote a few of the psalms. He was the music director in Solomon's temple. And in Psalm 73 he talks about the fact that he almost backslid, almost turned away from God because of what he saw as the injustice of good people experiencing bad things and bad people experiencing good things. Let me read to you what he says - Psalm 73:

      "Surely," he says "God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

      "But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.

      "For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked."

      Then he goes on to say this:

      "They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.

      "They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.

      Down in Verse 8:

      "They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance, they threaten oppression."

      And in Verse 13, he says,

      "Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

      "All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning."

      In other words he says, "I have been wasting my time trying to live a life that is right with God and there is no benefit when it comes to physical advantage over the other people. In fact, he says, it's the people who turn away from God who seem to have the advantages. They are the ones who seem to be doing well.

      And he says, "I almost lost my foothold over this."

      If you want to know what happened, you have to read the rest of the psalm. He tells you how he regained his foothold. But that's the dilemma that many people face. David faced it in Psalm 37. Jeremiah faced it, Jeremiah Chapter 12. Many people through history have faced it.

      Why is it that being a Christian doesn't give you a leg up when it comes to being healthy, being successful - why not?

      I have just been in India these last 12 days and on the journey out, the long journey out and the long journey back and on some of the flights within the country I read the autobiography of Mahatma Ghandi.

      Ghandi is seen as the father of modern India. This autobiography was written in 1927 before the movement to Indian independence in the 1940's in which he was a figurehead in.

      But he makes some very astute observations of life and it was fascinating reading. And one of the things he observes is that if something good happens or somebody escapes some disaster that other people were impacted by, he said Christians always attribute it to God and say, "God rescued me."

      Muslims always attribute it to Allah and say, "Allah has rescued me."

      Hindus attribute it to karma - you know, you reap what you sow. ("Whew, I must have done something good to have avoided this.")

      Unbelievers attribute it to chance.

      Ghandi's observation was it may bring comfort to believe it is God, Allah, karma, but it doesn't change the facts of what has happened. And he raises this question: is God, is Allah, simply a convenient explanation so I can satisfy myself, "Uh-oh, God rescued me." Because he then says, what do people say who don't get rescued and they are Christians or they are Muslim or they are Hindu?

      We would love to have watertight answers to these questions wouldn't we? But we don't. Life is not as tidy as we would like it to be. There are ambiguities we have to learn to live with. But in the natural realm, the point I am making now is there are natural things that affect us whether we are amongst those Jesus calls the righteous or the unrighteous. But that doesn't mean that we are just victims of whatever goes on as well because Jesus, in Matthew 10, sent His disciples out on one occasion, told them they were going to have a hard time.

      But He said,

      "Don't be afraid. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

      So He said, "Look, you are going out into a world that is going to be opposed to you, it is going to be tough, but actually don't be afraid.

      So how is the will of God operating in that, as a sparrow doesn't fall to the ground but it's the will of my Father?

      And He is clearly talking about the permissive will of God there and the permissive will of God, if that is simply a convenient description, there are many things which do not originate in God Himself, but which do not catch Him off guard and He is able to intervene.

      But let's move on from that - the natural factors that are at work - to the spiritual factors that are at work. Why does John say the whole world is under the control of the evil one?

      Why could the devil offer all the kingdoms of this world and Jesus not laugh him out of the desert? "What a ridiculous thing you are offering Me. Who do you think you are?" He didn't do that. How does Satan get into this position?

      If you go back to the beginning and you discover when God created human beings He said two things about human beings: "Let us make man in Our image, in Our likeness." That was the first thing He said.

      In other words, the first job description, if you like, of human beings is that they should be a physical, visible expression of what God is like in His moral character ("make man in Our image").

      But the second thing He said about the function of human beings is, "And let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

      In other words, as the King James puts it, He gave them dominion over the earth. His instruction was, the second part of the job description, not only be a physical, visible expression of what God is like, but rule over the earth. Man was given that responsibility.

      But every responsibility carries inherently within it the possibility of irresponsibility. Otherwise it wouldn't be true responsibility. And you know how Adam and Eve together acted irresponsibly in disobedience. The fall took place. A number of things happened. They became separated from God. In one verse they became separated from the life of God. That means they became spiritually dead.

      We, the human race, died in Adam - 1 Corinthians 15:22:

      "In Adam all die."

      We were born in that state of spiritual death. Not only does it just affect the human race, but the whole creation fell. Romans 8:22 says that the whole creation is groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to this present time.

      In other words, our creation itself is in anguish, it is in pain; there are things in our creation that are wrong. So much so, the fall was to such an extent that Satan is called prince of this world; the god of this age, and the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

      Not because he defeated God; he never has; he never can; he never will defeat God. But he defeated humanity, human beings to whom God gave dominion over this earth. And that principle in Romans 6:16 is true here when Paul wrote there,

      "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?"

      Says Paul, if you submit yourself to either sin or obedience, you become slaves. And Satan's rule in this world is not through some intrinsic right of his own, but because he captivated the will of human beings. That's why it is we who are judged on the judgement day.

      Now in that context with explicit attack of Satan on Job, in the book of Job, let me talk about this confidence that Job has when he says in Job 42, "I know You can do all things and no purpose of Yours can be thwarted."

      If you know the book of Job - and I will very briefly just summarize it - the book of Job opens with a scene in heaven. God is there and all His angels have been brought before Him, and in the midst of them all is Satan.

      Now it may well be that some of you will have a theology that says Satan could never go into heaven. He does. He goes there regularly. Job gives us two times when he is hauled up there. Because you see, when God created the world He did not create an evil devil. He created His angels and in the hierarchy of angel, the highest ranking and most beautiful of His angels was one called the Morning Star or Lucifer.

      There are some graphically beautiful descriptions of Lucifer in Isaiah 14, and Ezekiel 28 describes him as the most beautiful thing in all God's creation. But it also tells us on account of his beauty he became proud and wanted to move one notch higher to be equal with God.

      And a rebellion took place in heaven. He was driven out of heaven to earth. Earth is Satan's habitation. It's where he was driven. But every once in a while it seems that God grabs hold of him by the scruff of the neck and hauls him up to heaven and sits him down and says, "How are you getting on?" That's what He said in Job Chapter 1. "How are you getting on?"

      Satan said, "Alright. I am going to and through the whole earth causing as much trouble as I can."

      And God said, "What about My servant Job? How are you getting on with Job? There is no one on earth like him. He is upright, he fears God, he shuns evil. He is the best man I have got. How are you getting on with Job?"

      And Satan said, "The only reason Job is like that is because You have made life good for Job. You have built a hedge around him. I can't get at him. He has got a lovely wife. He has got some great kids. He is the richest man in the east. Of course he worships You. It is in his interest to do so. But he is only a fair-weather worshiper. If he lost all of that, if he lost his livelihood, if he lost his prosperity, if he lost his kids, he would curse You to Your face," said Satan.

      So God said, "Alright. I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll take the hedge down and you can do what you like except don't touch his body, don't touch his life."

      Now there are a number of interesting things there, which we haven't time to talk about fully. One of course is that Satan needs permission to attack, but it also tells us that when he asks for permission God gives it. But He also set the boundary - don't touch his life, body.

      Well Job knew nothing about this. The first thing Job knew about was one day when he was at home and somebody came running in and said, "Job, your oxen and your donkeys have been stolen by the Sabeans and the workers who were with them were all killed except me and I escaped and have come to tell you."

      Another one came running and said, "Job, your sheep were out grazing in the field when a lightning bolt from heaven ignited the field, burned up all the sheep, killed most of your servants. Only I have escaped to tell you."

      Somebody else came running up and said, "Job, your camels have been stolen by a Chaldean raiding party and your servants have been put to death. And I have escaped and have come to tell you."

      And while Job was absorbing all of this and sitting down, buffeted by all of this news, somebody came running in with the worst news of all. "Job, your sons, your daughters, were having a party in the eldest son's house when a hurricane blew off the desert, hit the house and flattened it and all of your children are dead."

      And it says,

      "At this Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head." (All these were symbols of his agony)... "fell to the ground and worshipped."

      You know if it said he fell to the ground and cursed, we would understand that. He fell to the ground and questioned, we wouldn't think twice about that. We understand that certainly.

      But he fell to the ground in worship.

      You know, it is relatively easy to worship God when things are going well and to thank God for all the good things. This is real worship - when everything else has fallen apart.

      In Chapter 2, Satan is hauled back to heaven. God said, "How are you getting on? Going to and fro throughout the whole earth? How are you getting on with My servant Job? Last time you talked about him."

      And Satan said, "Well, You knew when You told me I could do anything except touch his body that the only thing he really cares about is his own pain threshold. He doesn't want to hurt. He can absorb the rest but as long as he himself is not in pain."

      And God said, "Alright, touch his body. Don't take his life. Touch his body."

      And Job got sores from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. He scratched himself with broken pottery, sat in the ash heap, which at least was sterile. Then his wife turned nasty. She said, "Curse God and die." That didn't help their marriage at all.

      And then three friends came along and the best thing those friends did was to sit quietly for seven days. And then they opened their mouths and spoiled it - Bildad the Shuhite, Eliphaz the Temanite, Zophar the Naamathite.

      And they all said the same thing. They said, "Job, there must be sin in your life and you are being judged. God is judging you. Face your sin, confess it, repent of it, and then God will restore things to you."

      And Job said, "I can't think of any particular sin."

      They said, "Think harder Job. That's a lie."

      Then they began to incriminate his kids. "What were your kids doing in that house the night that it fell on them, huh? Were there any girls there with them Job, do you think?"

      And Job went into deep depression. In Chapter 3 he starts it by saying, "Cursed be the day of my birth." He says the day my father got the news, "you've got a son". I wish that day could be taken out of history.

      He went into deep physical depression, spiritual depression. He thought God had forsaken him. He became suicidal and wished he could die.

      You know, Job's friends of course live in the conscience of many of us. When things go wrong, we say, "What did I do to deserve this? Why is God judging me?"

      The truth was it wasn't Job's unrighteousness that was the issue at all. It was his righteousness. God said about Job, "He's the best man on earth."

      It's actually the total opposite of the logic. The logic is if you live well you will experience good things; if you live badly don't complain when things go wrong. No, it's the complete reverse. Job lived well. That's why he was the target.

      And those friends gave Job 35 chapters - I have counted them - 35 chapters of nonsense. That's a lot of the Bible to be nonsense. It's inspired text in that it's a true record of the nonsense these men said.

      But all they ever did was heap onto Job condemnation, guilt and depression.

      And then at the end it says in Chapter 40,

      "Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm,"

      And let me give you my third heading now. There are natural factors at work. The sun shines on the just and the unjust.

      There are spiritual factors at work. The devil is active. We have given him inroads and God gives him inroads.

      But now the divine factors. Then God spoke to Job out of the storm. That is in Chapter 40 Verse 6. We haven't time to look at the couple of chapters of what God said to him but I want instead to look at Job's response in Chapter 42:2 where he says,

      "I know that you can do all things and no purpose of yours can be thwarted."

      Now I think it is important for us to distinguish between purpose and process. There are processes that have the dirty fingerprints of Satan all over them, that are intended to be damaging, that are intended to be destructive, that in our experience are negative and not positive things.

      But in those processes the sovereignty of God is expressed in that in those processes He uses them to fulfill purpose. And Job's unflinching confidence at the end of the book, despite the pain of his children dying, the pain of his own physical ailments, the depression of his friends' advice, the sadness of his wife turning against him, the disappointment of losing all his business, that there is a purpose that is being protected through all of this.

      And what is the purpose? It is very interesting because it doesn't appeal to most of us, to a lot of us. What the purpose was, He says in the next verse, well Verse 2,

      "I know you can do all things and no purpose of yours can be thwarted."

      Verse 5:

      "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

      He says, "This is what has happened: yeah, I was a good guy before (because God said he was a good guy before that) but I have seen God. I had heard about Him. I could give you doctrines about Him, but I have seen God."

      And what is God's purpose in your life and mine? What is the ultimate purpose? That we know and see and experience and find joy in God Himself.

      You see, very often when we think about purposes we tend to think of God as being the means and we the beneficiary. In other words, oh, God is going to turn this out for good for me.

      In Job it seems that God is the end, and by the end I mean Job's knowledge of God, his experience of God, his joy in God is the end. And out of that, everything else in life takes on a new perspective and we are richer because of it.

      And he responds in humility. "I repent in dust and ashes."

      If we measure the purposes of God by how happy and healthy and prosperous we are there are going to be times in our lives when we are going to get depressed about our lack of progress, and also we have not understood the big picture of Scripture.

      And it's very popular to make ourselves the end and God the means. Whereas God is the end and we are privileged to be the means by which God's purposes are worked out that are good.

      A favourite verse - and I finish with this - that we often quote and I have talked about this verse before - Romans 8:28

      "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

      The familiar King James Version that is often quoted:

      "All things work together for good."

      I have pointed out before that is not a good translation. In that translation, things are active - all things work together for good. But things are not active; things are passive.

      The better translation is what many other translations have, and the NIV does:

      "In all things God works for good."

      In other words, it's not the things that are active; it's God that is active. The things themselves may be bad things. It's not that the bad things that come are kind of well disguised - they're really good things.

      No, no, the bad things that come are bad things. But in the midst of the bad things, in the midst of the sadnesses and the tragedies and the heartaches that are part and parcel of life for most of us; in the midst of those, God works for good. That is, that God in them works out something, which is good, and that good begins with a fresh and deeper revelation of God (that's what was true for Job), a deeper knowledge of God. And from that permeates a deeper joy, a deeper sense of contentment, a deeper peace.

      The processes may be the devil but he never wins. The purposes God brings out in the end result.

      When Judas left the Upper Room to go and betray Jesus, it says, "Satan entered Judas." It was a satanic thing. And he went out and betrayed Jesus. But there was a purpose that came through that, that fulfilled God's agenda.

      Now I know this probably raises more questions than it answers, and that's okay if we take time to think about it and not want everything in nice neat little bundles.

      But I am going to pick this up next week and we are going to look much more positively next week about how it is that God works good in the evil context of our world.

      Because understanding what it means to live in the will of God means we cannot bury our heads in the sand. We have got to live in a world that is broken and evil and demonic in so many ways, yet to do so with a conviction that in this world my life is not just a victim of fate but God is working something that is good and wholesome and beautiful, and I don't have to see it until with the hindsight of eternity, I see it with clarity.

      Why do you think the book of Revelation tells us He will wipe away all tears from our eyes? Because there will be tears in heaven. He doesn't say there are no tears; He says He will wipe your tears. We arrive in heaven with our tears because we won't have understood and we won't have known the balm we would like to have known sometimes. But one day, from that perspective, He will wipe away the tears because we will see it.

      But I will talk about that next week. But I don't know where you are, but I do know this that there are those of you who are experiencing things and you have experienced things and there are problems and issues in your life that you see the fingerprints of the evil one and you just wonder why God doesn't just solve them all and blow them all away and the sun comes out and the sky is blue and the grass is green again.

      Because His purpose is bigger than that. And Job holds on to that confidence in a world that, as John later writes, is under the control of the evil one.

      Well let's pray together as we close. And in praying I want to pray for those of you who are in issues of pain and hardship and difficulty, maybe loss, folks here who have miscarried and the pain of not being able to conceive has hurt you. You have lost someone very precious, your workplace is not what you want it to be, your kids have kicked over the traces and they are not where you want them to be at all. I want to pray very specially for you this morning.

      Lord Jesus, thank You ...

Back to Charles Price index.

See Also:
   Part 1: Seeing the Big Picture
   Part 2: His Ways Are Not Our Ways
   Part 3: God's Purpose in a Fallen World
   Part 4: Re-Working the Clay
   Part 5: Visions from Heaven
   Part 6: The Will of God and the Word of God
   Part 7: Reading Our Circumstances
   Part 8: Seeking Good Advice
   Part 9: Putting the Pieces in Place

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