Does bad news cancel good news?PastorT
The Bad news and the Good News
In response to your post. Here is an excerpt from your post:
You might have heard people say, “When I get to Heaven, God has a lot of explaining to do!” I don’t think that will be the case. I remember hearing about a gal who had suffered horrible abuse as a child. Talk about needing to process! She wound up having a near-death experience, and found herself surrounded by so much love that all of her trauma just melted away. I also thought of Grandma, who struggled to understand after Grandad had passed. One day she told me, “The understanding never came, but a peace did,” and it was enough for her.
Ps 107:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
One of my favorite words in the Old Testament is HESED. It means (in terms of God’s love towards us) the biggest love you could ever conceive, multiplied by 10 trillion, yet it will never fail us. Love always hopes, redeems, and will not allow anything to come between it and the people. Paul reveals (1 Cor 13) the same thing about God’s love for his people, even if they don’t reflect their election by how they live. Paul challenges us to inherit this love that flows from God, which clearly manifests in Jesus Christ our Lord. When people in our community don’t live up to the truth and righteousness, this faithful love doesn’t give up on them (technically, even our enemies should experience our love in some form).
We know that God’s faithful love will undo all the wrongs we suffer and ultimately will never fail us. The story of Psalm 107 is so beautiful. Think of the Israelites (v. 4) breaking the bonds of slavery with God’s mighty hand, and then a short time later, they were led into harm’s way again by nearly dying in the desert but were saved by water from a rock and bread from heaven. The story of deliverance doesn’t end there. The Psalmist sings of people who made a mess of their lives (v. 17) and suffered for it. That wasn’t the end though. They humbled themselves to beg God for deliverance, and he did! The next part of the song (v. 26) depicts enormous waves crashing over a ship. The people onboard nearly lose their minds as the monstrous waves threaten their lives. They cried out to God for deliverance, and he quieted the waters (this should sound familiar).
Evil spoils blessings
Because of evil in the world (v. 33), God will curse the land and the waters. He will plant his people in this chaotic place and reverse the curse on the land and the waters. There will be relief for the people and prosperity (think Israel). These were the good times (v. 38). They felt blessed to inherit good from something bad. But the song takes a dark turn, and you will find the answer to your post here (also see my post on depression).
The psalmist writes, “When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow….” I noticed the people who were blessed in a redeemed landscape with peace and prosperity had it ripped from them due to injustice, evil, and frustration (v. 39). God allowed that to happen (and the cycle repeats today), and we are left with a fork in the road. Only two ways to go, just like there are only two types of people in this Psalm. Those that believe God is good and those that believe God is not. Christian people are hesitant to say they struggle here, but that’s what we are doing when we ask, “Why did God allow this to happen?”
The song explains that three things will overturn the goodness God provided. First, oppression strangles people from living free and happy lives. It causes frustration and depresses the soul. It has many forms, physical, political, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual. Second, evil steals innocence and is cruel and heartless. Evil will attempt to destroy good people and fill the land with darkness. Finally, grief casts a shadow over all the good God has done. Why does he allow the blessing to be ruined by bad things? Why does he allow innocent people to be harmed and killed? Why does he allow for premature death and suffering of the youth? We must carefully consider these things when we feel discouraged and hopeless.
Good ultimately overturns evil
The song isn’t over yet; there is hope. A time is coming, after many ups and downs of the giant waves of life, when he “raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks” (v. 41). The righteous people who had faith will be glad, and experience this. Wicked people who believed God was not good shut their mouths because they could no longer deny he loved his creation and all people. God’s faithfulness and everlasting love will not leave us in depression and hopelessness. He will rescue us because he has shown Abraham that all nations will be blessed through him. God is good! Let the redeemed of the LORD praise him for his salvation! “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD (v. 49).”