God brings good from evil

Once upon a time a farmer had one old horse that he used for tilling his fields.  One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmers’ neighbours heard about it they sympathised with him over this great loss.  The farmer believed that God could bring good from evil so he replied to his friends, “Bad luck?  Good luck? We shall see.”  A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills!  This time the neighbours congratulated the farmer.  Shortly afterwards when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off  its back and broke his leg.  Everyone thought that this was very bad luck, but the farmer faithfully replied, “Bad luck, good luck – we shall see as times goes on.”  Some weeks later the army marched into the village and forced all the able bodied young men to go to fight in a bloody war. When they saw that the farmer’s son had a broken leg they let him stay.  Everyone was now very happy at the farmer’s good fortune.

This story which comes from ancient China reminds us of God’s promise in Romans Chapter 8 verse 28, that if we remain faithful to Him, He can and does bring good out of the bad things that happen to us.  He promises to bring good from evil.  During this mortal life individuals experience a wide range of different problems and tragic circumstances.  Perhaps in youth, individuals may think they can escape the many problems that come from living in a “fallen world”.  But as one grows into adulthood it soon dawns upon everyone that we must all face a variety of evils sooner or later whether it be bereavement, death, illness, redundancy, divorce and so on.  No one escapes.  Scripture gives the wonderful promise however, that no matter what may befall us, God can turn that trouble around and bring some good from it.  Countless Christians who have passed through tragedy or trouble testify to this fact and state that looking back they really experienced God’s care, help and sustaining presence in a deeper way than ever before.  Far from shaking their faith it actually renewed and strengthened their faith and trust in Him.  They ended up closer to God than they thought possible, totally relying on Him as their Companion and Best Friend.

Human suffering is actually one of the main topics in the Bible and it gives clear teaching on why bad things happen, how we are to respond to such events and the assurance of God’s promise of Help and Comfort in the midst of it all.

In this life we have not only to contend with the freewill actions of other people, actions such as theft, murder, greed, pride, bullying etc, etc, but we are also inhabiting a planet which the Bible describes as being in a “fallen state”.  In Romans Chapter 8 Verses 20-21 it explains that the “natural laws or laws of nature” created by God regarding how the planet operates were originally perfect and complete but are now in a state of “decay and corruption”.  Just as a computer  with a virus will often still work to a degree, albeit slowly and inefficiently, so likewise the laws of nature.  It explains that these “natural  laws” created by God for this age were created “fully functioning” but the corporate nature of human sin effected what God created perfect, so that these laws no longer work as intended.  The end result is that we have human bodies which work to a degree but are susceptible to disease such as cancer, a weather system which sort of works but which gives some parts of the planet too much rain and other parts none at all, and areas which get earthquakes and so called “natural disasters”.  This was never part of the “original plan”. It warns that even the most devout person is still affected by this “fallen nature”.  Living a Christian life doesn’t mean one will escape getting cancer, or being in an earthquake etc, because quite simply we are still subject to the “natural laws” of the planet we inhabit.  It is these fallen natural laws which explain why disasters occur and why “bad  things” happen to “good” people.  The Bible actually warns that bad events occur to the righteous and wicked alike and that this in itself is an evil (Ecclesiastes Chapter 9 verse 2).

One day these natural laws will be restored to their original and perfect state.  Isaiah Chapter 11 describes these new world conditions where “the wolf will lie down with the lamb and the lion will eat straw like an ox and nothing will hurt or destroy in all the earth.”  This restoration of nature doesn’t occur until after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

In the meantime as we witness terrible world events month after month on the news, let us take heart that God will redress all wrongs in eternity and that even in this life He can bring good from evil if we remain faithful to Him.