Understanding the purpose of God is an impossible task. We as humans do not have the ability to comprehend all that God is. We cannot successfully attempt to understand God's will, His sovereignty, His omniscience and His creation. Sometimes when I don't understand God's purpose, I try to put God in a grid or a box that is comprehensible to me, hoping that I as a mere human being can be let in on God's awesome plan and purpose.
Injustice and suffering in the world today
What I struggle most about in seeking to understand God's purpose in this world, is why He allows horrific things to happen to innocent people. Why He would allow unrighteous and evil people to succeed at the expense of the meek, poor and humble. Why innocent children get massacred, why a young fit healthy person develops a fatal brain tumour and why there is so much war, genocides, famines, women and children being raped and murdered and many more.
Different kind of injustice
And yet I take this for granted because I live in a highly developed society. Yet I face another kind of injustice. I see injustice in my workplace, where liars and hypocrites exist freely. Where it feels like a "dog-eat-dog" world and it seems like the only way I can succeed is by stabbing other people in the back and ostracise innocent parties in order to get what I want. I see relationships break down due to infidelity and abuse. I see mega corporations profiting from the people's hard work and churches being charged with embezzlement and abuse. It vexes my heart each time I experience or see this and I cry out to God in grief.
Puzzling Questions about God
I have pondered to myself, if God is so good and so loving, why does He allow evil to happen? And if He is so powerful, how come He cannot control evil? If God is the creator of everything, is He then the creator of evil as well? How can light and darkness exist in God concurrently? Can God use evil and suffering as a tool for His purpose? Is everything God does, whether good or evil, part of one big mighty plan that we cannot understand and yet is still for us?
Suffering and evil recorded throughout history
Throughout the history of the Bible, there are countless times where God has allowed evil and suffering to occur as His chosen tool to achieve His purpose for His own glorification in those who love Him. The classic examples are the stories of Joseph and Job. In Genesis 39 the righteous Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, only to end up being the second-in-command to Pharaoh. This meant he was able to save his family and the rest of the Hebrews from a terrible famine.
Job was an upright and perfect man before God, abhorring all evil. Yet God allowed Satan to test him and let him suffer. But in the end God gave everything back to Job many times over and gave Job a concrete sense of faith and trust in Him. God also allowed early Christians to perish and yet without their deaths, the message of God would not have had such a high impact to the non-believers, giving them the conviction to turn to Jesus and to God. And of course the suffering of God Himself in the death of Christ at the hand of evil powers on the cross purely for His own purpose and glory in our Salvation from the beginning to the end.
God faithfully delivers through my suffering
God uses suffering to purge sin from my life, but to also strengthen my commitment to him, forcing me to depend on His grace, to trust Him and to bind me together with other believers and in the everlasting hope He promises to give. He produces in me discernment and discipline, imparts wisdom and causes me to know Christ better. He leads me to see His works and glory that I may praise Him in His highest name and lead others to be saved by Him as well.
God and His tools for His purpose
In Corinthians chapter 13, verse 12, it says "Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."
God is perfect and complete. God always does all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. "All things" includes both good and bad things. God is sovereign and has created this majestic plan from the beginning to end. God can use us for His purpose.
We are but humble instruments, vessels for Him to use for His glory. Other times, God uses suffering and evil as His tools. In suffering, God always brings us closer to Him. God also uses suffering to display Himself to us. When you seem to be at your worst, dying of cancer or being born blind, it is through those sufferings that God becomes real. God can use struggles, heartbreaks and tragedies in ways to bring about His glory and our good.
Such events, even though I don't understand the reason for them, are part of His perfect, divine plan. If God could not control evil, He would not be God. His sovereignty demands that He be in control of everything, and we never lose our hope in Him and stand strong in our faith always.
Clarissa Yates is from Singapore but moved to live in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. Clarissa married in 2012 and obtained an International Scholarship to do her Doctorate at the Australian Neuro-Muscular Research Institute starting in 2013.
Clarissa Yates previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html