God is still there, even in times of political turmoil and despair:
It is times like this when many Christians might be really struggling. A horrific election result is just the icing on the cake of a woke, secular left blitzkrieg which is overwhelming not just Victoria and Australia, but all of the West. It seems like one ugly anti-Christian agenda item after another is being implemented, and the war of faith, freedom and family is in the final stages.
With all this going on many believers can be very discouraged and disillusioned. I know I am. We naturally ask where is God, why he seems to be silent, why our prayers are not being answered, and so on. Why is this all happening? Why does not God intervene?
Many believers throughout the centuries have asked these sorts of questions and wondered about these kinds of matters. It can be any number of things that produces such questioning: the death of a loved one, losing your job, coming down with cancer, or getting a divorce. And nationally we can also ask questions about all sorts of things: invasion, civil war, depressions, treason, national disasters, corrupt politicians and so on.
Here in Victoria having another heart-wrenching election result is one of those big ticket items. It is certainly more serious than when your fave sporting team loses, but less serious than being invaded, as in Ukraine. In my short election piece I penned late last night, I mentioned how when God judged rebellious Israel, it was not just those deserving of such punishment who suffered.
It was also the godly remnant, including some of God’s choice prophets. They too experienced the destruction of Jerusalem by the evil Babylonians, and many of them were carried away into Babylonian exile as well. They suffered right along with all the others.
They could easily have been asking similar sorts of questions: ‘Why Lord?’ Of course they did know that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple was God’s judgment on a rebellious and sinful people, and they heavily grieved about all that. But they also had to undergo these horrible experiences themselves, being exiled from home and dragged off to a strange land.
But they also knew that their time there would not be permanent, and that God would bring them back home one day. Not only that, but God would judge Babylon, the very nation that had been his instrument of judgement upon Israel in the first place. They had all this by prophetic revelation. Things differ today.
When we see one electoral defeat after another, with secular left parties bent on doing so much great harm to faith, family and freedom, we do not have that same prophetic word. Another four years of Labor here in Victoria may well destroy it. And one Liberal MP says it is quite likely it will be at least ten more years before Labor finally gets booted out. I do not think Victoria can last that long. But again, we do not have the divine word on all this, so we can only guess about how things will pan out.
So all we can do is grieve, and ask questions, and plead with God, and hope that some sort of miracle happens. We can repent, individually, and on behalf of a sleeping and often spiritually inert church, and ask for God’s mercy. The fate of the state is often to a large extent dependent on the fate of the church.
If the church was being all it was meant to be under God, things may well have turned out differently. So we as Christians must begin on our faces before God, confessing our own sins and seeking his favour. But many would rightly be asking right now if all that we have been going through of late is not the judgment of God on this state and on this nation – not just on the pagan populace, but on the church as well.
There is much here to think about and pray about. But I know that many believers and conservatives went to bed last night with very heavy hearts, with real grief, and with plenty of questions. I certainly did. A bit past midnight as I headed off to bed I flipped over the page on my daily Bible verse calendar thingee, and it was interesting what I found. The verse for Sunday was the very familiar passage from Romans 8:28.
It says this: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I thought it was quite interesting that the last thing I saw before heading to bed and a long night of tossing and turning was this verse. Indeed, in yesterday morning’s daily reading I was also in Romans 8.
So I took it as an indication that God may have been seeking to speak to me and comfort me. And what better verse to do this with than this one. It is such a familiar passage that we tend to take it for granted. But it is a marvellous text indeed, and it is worth offering a bit of commentary on. James Montgomery Boice reminds us that the ‘good’ discussed here has to do with being conformed to the image of Christ:
That is an obvious good. It is impossible to think of a higher good for human beings, to be like one’s Maker. Pastor Ray Stedman rightly calls this “what life is all about.” But at the same time, seeing this allows us to see other not so obviously good things within the greater purpose. We can see how sickness, suffering, persecution, grief, or other ills can be used by God for this good end….
Are the things used in our lives by God for this good end necessarily good in themselves or only in their effect? The answer is the latter. In other words, this text does not teach that sickness, suffering, persecution, grief, or any other such thing is itself good. On the contrary, these things are evils. Hatred is not love. Death is not life. Grief is not joy. The world is filled with evil. But what the text teaches—and this is important—is that God uses these things (and others) to effect his own good ends for his people. God brings good out of the evil, and the good, as we saw, is our conformity to the character of Jesus Christ.
R. Kent Hughes makes these remarks:
Romans 8:28 does not mean, as is commonly thought, that “everything will turn out okay in this life.” It means, rather, that everything will work out for our ultimate good. These words have our eternal rather than our temporal good in mind. Bishop Anders Nygren writes:
“Just as the present aeon is to be followed by eternity, it has already been preceded by an eternity. Only when we see our present existence set in God’s activity, which goes from eternity to eternity, do we get it in right perspective. Then man comes to see that everything that comes to the Christian in this life—and consequently the sufferings of the present too—must work together for good to him.”
And R. C. Sproul offers this comment:
What we get from Romans 8:28 is this: in the short run each of us is visited at some point by tragedy. We are actors in the theater of the tragic. Tragedies are on our minds every day, but what Romans 8:28 teaches is that ultimately – not proximately but ultimately – there are no tragedies for the Christian. Tragedy now is a blessing later. In every tragedy we experience, God is working with it, molding it and shaping it, for our eternal blessedness. The tragic is ephemeral and temporary. It is in the world but never permanent.
Sure, it will be quite difficult for us to understand how yet another term in office with one of the most corrupt, evil and anti-Christian politicians in Australian history can be viewed as good. But Paul is talking about goods for the believer. And for the long haul it may be a very real bad thing for the state and the nation, but God can still use it to achieve his purposes in our lives and beyond.
And this is where faith comes into play. It sure does not look like anything good can come out of this disastrous political mess. But we are not God and we have no full idea as to what he is up to. But we do know that he is too wise to make a mistake, and too loving to be unkind.
So that means we CAN trust him, and we can cast all our cares upon him. Things are looking very grim right now, but Jesus is still on the throne, and he is still working out his purposes in our lives and in the nations. That is what gives us hope and that is what helps us to persevere.