We American Christians tend to be aggressive even when we appear to be passive. We possess a form of certainty that must amuse and frustrate God. We are uncertain about precious little. "Our way of thinking" coupled with "our spiritual perspectives" ooze with a certainty not to be questioned.

We never intentionally instruct God or tell Him how to "conduct His business." Aren't we careful to say, "If it is your will," when we make requests for the sick? However, our convictions about God's priorities or concerns are never shy.

In this certainty, often we are quite definite about when, where, and how God is and is not working. It is hard for us to understand that not even evil prevents God from being at work. God is at work everywhere in everything. In context, that is the point of Romans 8:28. God even uses evil to accomplish His objectives and fulfill His purposes. I did not say that God causes evil. I said that God uses evil.

Consider two clear examples. Evil motivated Joseph's brothers to sell him as a slave. Year's later, Joseph realized that God worked through that evil to save his entire family. He told his brothers, "You meant it for evil against me, but God meant it for good..." (Genesis 50:20). Did God make Joseph's brothers evil? No, Satan did that. But God used Satan's evil initiative to accomplish His own purposes.

The greatest example is the crucifixion of Jesus. Lawless (godless--NAS) men killed Jesus (Acts 2:23). Satan's greatest single victory on earth was the execution of God's son. Yet, God worked through that evil to achieve His greatest victory in earth. That death atoned for all human sin from the first one to the world's end. That death led to resurrection. In the resurrection, God made Jesus Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).

Thankfully, God does not do things as we Christian humans do. Often we spend more energy and time in debating when, where, and how to work than in working. God is not afflicted with such indecision. He just works--all the time everywhere. Even when a teenager is sold into slavery or His son is executed, God is at work.

Were visible, spiritual caution signs placed everywhere God is at work, we American Christians would be astounded. Maybe we would help more and hinder less.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
(edited) Bulletin Article, 15 February 1998

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