IS EVERYTHING BAD THAT HAPPENS THE WILL OF GOD OR THE WORK OF THE DEVIL?
When bad things happen, some Christians attribute them sometimes to some heavenly punishment or an act of the devil.
Bad things can happen in many forms. The most common are sudden unforeseen economic, emotional or natural misfortunes; but they can also be born disabilities or conditions that puts us in disadvantage against other people around us.
A sudden loss of employment, an accident, a death in the family, any kind of personal disability or inconvenient living condition, can affect seriously anyone’s life, specially if it is prolonged in nature, and this makes us wonder why we have to suffer this.
In the mind of the believer, sometimes we are inclined to thinks that God wanted it that way, and that we have to accept it and suffer it. Other times we may think that this is an attack from the devil, and that we must fight against it.
These two responses are good against any odd that may come our way. Indeed, under any kind of misfortune or adversity, we must put our trust in God, and work diligently to change the conditions in our favour as much as we can; but also we need to be prepared that if they don’t change, we must remain always faithful to God, in knowledge that He is fully aware of our situation and in control, even when we don’t see it at that moment.
However, there is also another third factor of why things go wrong that almost never comes to the minds of the believers, but that could be convenient to identify to help us see things in the right perspective.
When humans sinned, God cursed the planet, and legislated that not always, what we work for, would give the good logical result it should, but the contrary:
“Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you”
Even though this was a decree from God, it was a general decree, not a personal punishment addressed to each of us for our own personal faults. It was the natural consequence of going away from the Creator and Sustainer of our universe.
A CURSED PLANET
We now live in a planet and universe, that holds a punitive sentence from God over it, where natural laws sometimes do not work according to what they were intended and created for, and randomly, many times and without previous warning go haywire, causing suffering over its inhabitants, us.
Most natural disasters, genetic anomalies, and sudden adversities out of anyone’s control happen because of this, and nothing else. Not because God is in a warpath against us, or punishing us for something we don’t even know, or because the devil has put aside for a moment, his mission of destroying the universe, just to pick personally on us.
WHAT WE SHOULD DO
A similar case, maybe the slavery condition in the ancient world.
To convert slaves, St Paul advised:
“Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you--although if you can gain your freedom, do so.”
These slaves were born into a society that had already this system established and accepted by all. Somehow, either through debt, birth or war, or even simply kidnapping, these people fell into slavery status. This condition was not invented by them, neither the men who captured them or the ones they served. Slavery was as ancient as human life, and all men, had known of it, and accepted it as part of natural life since before they could remember.
St Paul could not dismantle the system over night, so Christianity tried to settle the grounds for a gradual dismantling of the social system through natural conversion of slaves, masters and slave traders. Nevertheless, while that “natural” social state existed, he also encouraged the Christians slaves not only to remain calm, but also to free themselves, legally, if they could. They were moved to overcome their misfortune if they could do it, and work towards it.
AS WITH US, we have been born into a planet where total happiness is impossible, where things not always come the way they should, where humans are not born the way they should, or live in the conditions they should.
1 - We need to be aware that this is not some personal punishment or an act of the devil, but the natural condition of the universe we live in after Adam’s fall, and that it is walking towards final redemption, where all ideal conditions will be restored and more (Romans 8:19-22).
2 – We need to be aware that God knows what is happening with us, for whatever reason, natural, His will or demonic attack, God knowns exactly what is happening (Psalm 139:1-4, 8; 147:4; Matthew 10:30)
3 – We must strive to change things on our favour, whatever the reason. And we must pray constantly to God for mercy, endurance and deliverance from the adversity (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
4 – God loves us and wants the best for us (Romans 8:32).
Not everything bad that happens, either occasionally or on a permanent basis, is a punishment from God or a demonic attack. Sometimes it is just the way the world is, and we must face those adversities knowing that God is behind us.
The world may be cursed, but WE ARE NOT, that is , those who believe in Jesus Christ and have surrendered to Him as Lord and Saviour and live in obedience to God. We have the right as children of God, to be delivered from the curses of the world, and we will. We must come to our Heavenly Father for assistance when any adversity happens to us.
But in some cases, as when Paul was hit with an unforeseen adversity, this does not go away from us (2Corinthians 12:7-9), and then it becomes a trial, a test, for our own spiritual benefit and God’s glory. In those cases, we must continue to pray to God for endurance and deliverance, in full trust that even then, we will not be tried more than we can resist (1Corinthians 10:13) and that it will result on a great spiritual benefit for us.
“Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”