When Trouble Comes

Dr. Marc Drake, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Sun Lakes

Consider this question: What is the greatest evil ever carried out in history? Throughout the centuries, there have been many genocidal schemes perpetuated on humans. We often stand aghast at such historical atrocities, as well as at current ones like sex trafficking and acts of terrorism.

However, the greatest evil ever carried out in history centered on the death of God’s Son on the cross. As the apostle Peter preached in Acts 2:23, Jesus was crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. And yet, the worst evil ever committed was turned by God into the means of the believer’s salvation! Out of indescribable love and mercy, Jesus gave his life so our sin debt could be paid in full.

This is a wonderfully encouraging truth: Not even evil can frustrate God and his plans! Because He is sovereign over all things, He directs events and circumstances to serve his purposes. For example, in the Old Testament, Joseph understood this when he said to his brothers who had so grievously mistreated him, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20).

What about your life situation? Will you embrace it as something that God has sovereignly allowed? Many people resist God’s plan, all the while wondering why they can’t be somebody else or why things can’t be different. But the right response is to trust God wholeheartedly, knowing that He will accomplish a good purpose through your faithfulness to Him.

Consider an experience from the life of Corrie Ten Boom. During those dark days of extreme suffering in World War II, she struggled to accept God’s sovereignty. She experienced what might be called a “living hell” in the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp during a war that took the lives of everyone she loved. Before her sister Betsie died in that camp, she described the sovereignty of God in a way that changed Corrie forever. Betsie said, “I don’t know why God allows suffering, Corrie; all I know is across the blueprint of our lives, God wrote the word Ravensbruck. Tell them, Corrie—tell them that no pit is so deep that God’s love is not deeper still. They will listen to you because we have been here.”

What has God written across the blueprint of your life? It might be something you would have never wanted. But you and I don’t get to choose the words that are written across the blueprint of our lives. However, the choice we do have is whether to submit to a sovereign God or become bitter because we think He is not giving us a fair shake. If we respond correctly, God will use calamity and misfortune to reveal Himself through us to others. And to paraphrase Corrie Ten Boom: They will listen because we have been there.