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Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow evil to exist in this world? Most of us who are Christians have had these questions put to us by unbelievers. However, the answers to these questions are easy to give when we understand the longsuffering of God. As believers we know andunderstand that God is in control. You were not born an accident. You did not come into this world as a surprise to God. He created you, gave you life and brought you forth into this world with a purpose and a plan. But until we became Christians we did not see it this way. It was not until God manifested Himself to us that we became aware of His presence. Until God showed forth His longsuffering we were not aware we needed forgiveness, let alone that we needed Him. As I was praying this morning these questions were going through my mind. I prayed and asked the Lord these two questions. His answer to me was Romans 9:22-23.
“What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.” Romans 9:22-23
First of all, I think it is important for us to understand what the word “wrath” means in this context. Paul is not referring to a wrath that will destroy anything and everything in its wake. He is not saying that God is always angry at us. The word wrath in this context refers to the disposition that God has against sin. Wrath is “that in which God stands opposed to man’s disobedience, the resisting of the gospel and sin.” (Hebrew/ Greek Lexicon) God is not opposed to us, but to the sin that is in each of us.
Think about it for just a minute. God, knowing that the very ones He has given life to will reject Him, spit on Him, beat Him, and sentence Him to death still willing suffered through it. Why? Because our God is not only a longsuffering God, but He is also a God of hope. He hopes that they will repent and turn to Him. Every day we are shown the hope of God through the rising of the sun, the waves of the sea, the birds in the air and the life that blooms all around us. Every day God hopes that someone will hear His voice and harden not their hearts. (Hebrews 3:15) Because our God is longsuffering, we are all still breathing. Because our God has hope, we are all enjoying the beauty of His creation today.
The vessels of wrath that Paul is referring to are those who unceasingly reject the pleading hands of God to repent. There are some that will not be saved, I know, it breaks my heart to, but it is the truth. There are those who will reject the very thought of God, Jesus and the free gift of salvation until they have taken their very last breath. These vessels of wrath that Paul is writing about are those who refuse to turn from sin and accept the extended hands of mercy God is revealing to them.
God allows evil to exist in this world so that He can reveal His mercy, His love and His Salvation to the world. As the sun comes up over the horizon, so does His mercy shine upon all who will hear His voice. Our God is longsuffering. He is patiently bearing with the rejection, the sins, the evil and the hardness of men’s hearts to spare those who will believe on Him. He is restraining Himself from destroying us because He desires that all men will come to repentance and be saved.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
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He could just wipe us all off the face of the earth and just start over. He could destroy all the evil people in the world. But, He chooses not to because He loves us too much. His wrath reveals His heart towards our sin and disobedience. His mercy reveals to us His glory. When bad things happen, when evil looks like it is gaining ground, this is when we must even more diligently look for God to reveal Himself to us.
In the midst of our storms, He is the still small voice speaking hope and redemption to your soul. In the midst of the evil He is showing forth the power of His longsuffering and the glory of His mercy to any and all who will hear. He is restraining Himself from punishing all disobedience because He desires to show forth His mercy, and His glory to our lost and dying world. He allows these bad things to happen to show forth His hope that through the bad you will see the riches of His glory and mercy in Christ Jesus. He hopes that you will no longer harden your heart against Him, but will turn to Him and be saved.
Today is the day for us to stop striving against God. Today is the day for us to see the glory of His riches and mercy through the storms and the trials and turn to our Living God who endures with us day after day. Every day is another chance for someone to know Him, another chance for someone to let go of sin and turn to Jesus, let today be that day for you. God is restraining Himself so that you might come to know the fullness of His glory, the manifold wisdom of His grace and the overwhelming, redeeming power of His love for you. Let today be the day you no longer resist His mercy. I pray that these words will give you the faith you need to step out and receive the extended hands of mercy our Father in heaven is extending to you. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.