Do you ever find yourself wondering just how much the Lord loves us? Do you ever find yourself wondering just how good his purposes can be and just how glorious his plans? Do you ever find yourself wondering if God really cares?
I found myself pondering these matters the other day after a friend sent me an article about the precipitous rise of euthanasia in Canada. What politicians insisted would be nothing more than a means to hasten death for those who are terminally ill has actually become a means to prey upon the vulnerable.
While many request euthanasia to avoid pain in their final days, some are now using it simply because they are downcast or impoverished. Veterans who seek help for emotional turmoil are being offered the option of suicide. Those who can’t afford to live are being allowed to die. As the article says, “Since Canada legalized euthanasia in 2016, there has been a strange balancing act at the heart of its medical system. There is a national suicide prevention hotline you can call 24/7, where sympathetic operators will try to talk you out of killing yourself. But today there are also euthanasia hotlines, where operators will give you the resources you need to carry out your wish. Doctors and nurse practitioners are now in the business of saving the lives of some patients while providing death to others.” And all this is taking place before the rules grow even more permissive in the months ahead.
This is just one of many moral abominations that has taken root in the modern Western imagination—a context in which aborting babies is understood to be as inalienable a right as voting, in which even questioning the goodness of assisting children in transitioning from one gender to another (as if such a thing were even possible) is considered contemptible, in which the basic family structure that holds society together is being disparaged and undermined. “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
If we were to list all of society’s ills we would be here all day and all night. And it brings to mind one of the Bible’s most sobering woes—one of its most terrifying warnings to those who turn from God’s ways. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” We see all of this before us each and every day.
Yet my purpose here is not to recount the ways in which society curses God, but to consider God’s love for his people. There is a connection between the two. For as I have pondered society’s full-out rebellion against God, I also found myself marveling that he does not just strike this whole world and everyone in it with his hand of judgment. Why does he allow all this evil to continue? Why does he permit people to carry on and even deepen their rebellion against him?
Surely the answer is not apathy. Surely it is not inability or disinterest. There must be some other very good reasons. And the best I can figure is that those reasons must relate to God’s love and purposes.
God loves his people—the people he chose to be his own even before he created this world. Yet clearly not all of his people have yet been saved—nor probably even been born. God’s love for his people is so great that he will continue to tolerate all of this sin and rebellion, all of this hatred toward him, until the last of his chosen and beloved children has been born, has heard the gospel, and has been saved.
And then God has purposes he means to accomplish in this world, the foremost among them being glorifying himself. His purposes in this world must be so good and must bring such glory to his name that he permits evil to continue. For God freely makes use of the evil actions of men to bring about the best of his plans and accomplish the best of his purposes—purposes like the preservation of his people through famine and the salvation of his people through Christ’s crucifixion. Even the greatest evil is God’s servant to accomplish great good.
So the next time you are faced with the sheer depravity of this world, allow it to point you beyond the evil of man to consider the purposes of God. The next time you are forced to consider the rebellion that exists in the hearts of men, consider also the love that flows from the heart of God. You will see that his purposes are so good and his heart so tender that he will continue to allow mankind to rage against him and commit abhorrent acts so that he might welcome in all of his people and further the glory of his great name.