Bad things happen. We see it. We know it. We hear it hourly on the news, but why? Why does our good and wonderful God let such terrible things happen? Two Bible stories come to mind to help clarify this mystery:
First, the book of Job addresses the issue, overturning a previous notion that bad things only happen to bad people. According to the Bible, Satan challenged the righteous Job with devastating blows of death, financial loss, and debilitating illness. The biggest blow though was realizing God had allowed such awful things to happen.
Without meaning to, Job’s friends played “devil’s advocate,” but then those verbal wrestling matches helped to increase Job’s faith. By the end of the book, however, Job no longer needed faith to believe in God because God was clearly present, speaking directly to him so he could hear.
In the epilogue, Job received far more blessings than he’d ever had, but the infinite blessing came with his heavily reinforced relationship with the Almighty God.
Many centuries later, a legion of demons confronted Jesus, saying, “What do You have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, don’t torment me!” Luke 8:28.
Even when Jesus’ own followers did not recognize Who He was, demons did. Unlike earth-folk, dark spirits dwell in an unseen spiritual world that affects us daily, even though we can’t see it, but, like our known planet, the unseen world also has laws and promises that must be kept.
God has promised to bind up evil in the end times.
Until then, the spiritual world has a dark side that can stir up storms and wars and weeping everywhere.
Until then, our God Who does not lie cannot go against His Word.
Therefore, Jesus allowed the demons to go into a herd of pigs. He permitted this in order to free the demon-possessed man since He could not yet hold the demons in the abyss they feared.
Those Bible passages give us a truer view of the spiritual realities behind tragedies than a TV screen can show, reminding us of the influence and ongoing mystery of the spirit world. More important, they remind us that Jesus Christ has the power and authority to free, cure, heal, restore, and redeem.
As believers, prayer-partners, and disciples of Christ, we have the power and authority in Jesus’ Name to pray for our Savior to save whatever needs saving.
The story in Luke also shows our Christ-potential to influence others for good. After Jesus freed the demon-possessed man, this new believer went on to become an amazing evangelist as he told everyone the good God had brought to him.
Whether or not evangelizing is our God-given gift, we can faithfully pray the Lord’s prayer (Our Father) over every awful situation, asking the Lord to “Deliver us from evil” for the kingdom, power, glory, and ongoing redemption belong to our good and loving God.
Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2016