Saturday, January 21, 2012
I was talking with a friend the other day about abortion. She was sharing some stats she had heard about how widespread abortion is in Canada. This post is not about abortion, but I will say both my friend and I would be of the mind that abortion kills a baby and is wrong, even under the most heartbreaking circumstances that some women find themselves in.
At the end of our conversation, my friend said "Sometimes it really seems like Evil is winning."
So I've been thinking about that for a bit. I think it is easy for the human mind to take in the world - through the news, through the internet, through looking at our own community, and conclude that Evil is winning in this world. But my heart says no. My heart and my spirit say that though this is what I see, I know that God is in control and that He has the victory. The evil in this world may flaunt how it advances, but God is at work in peoples hearts, turning them towards Himself. And we know that in the end, Jesus said He will make all things new, He will do away with pain, sorrow, and evil itself. We just can't see all this from our perspective.
I was reading in 1 Kings 19. The kingdom of Israel has turned their back on God, and are living in ways that grieve God's heart. The prophet Elijah has been obedient to God, especially in a few major encounters with the King of Israel. But at this moment, Elijah is running for his life, and he thinks he's alone. He says to God, "I've been working my heart out for you, God! The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I'm the only one left, and now they're trying to kill me."
Then God comes closer to Elijah, comes in a quiet whisper, and Elijah repeats his worries to God.
God then proceeds to give Elijah some instructions for Him - a little window into what's coming next for Israel. But at the end, God says these words:
"Meanwhile, I'm preserving for myself seven thousand souls: the knees that haven't bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven't kissed his image."
How different is God's perspective from Elijah's! Elijah thinks he is all alone, the only one left who cares about honoring and living for God. He is at the end of his rope, and ready to die. From his perspective, evil is winning in Israel. But God not only has everything in control, but tells Elijah that he is not alone, that God has preserved seven thousand others whose hearts are still faithful to God.
When we look at our lives, we think we see the full picture. And in desperate times, we think it's over, we think we're losing, we're alone, we're done. But God sees the bigger picture. God knows every heart, and is at work in amazing ways that our eyes cannot see.
Specifically for those of us who are engaged in any sort of ministry, we are not alone! God delights in hearts that have not turned away from Him, that are faithful and obedient amidst the evil of this world. If you are in a church struggling through conflict, or you volunteer at a youth group or youth center and all you see is kids with no hope - look again with God's eyes. God knows which hearts He is preserving for Himself even through the trouble. Glory to God!