By Lauren Maggs.
In the past few weeks, our country has been rocked by violence in many quarters. One of the areas of focus has been the public outpouring of grief regarding gender-based violence. People all over South Africa have been expressing their fear and heartbreak. They feel helpless, vulnerable and angry.
What does God want us to know in the light of all this?
1. God sees and knows
When faced with human sin and evil, we can often wonder if God sees or knows. We can question whether he is concerned. The Bible assures us that nothing goes unnoticed by God. He knows every event, every motive, every thought. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3) God is intimately aware of all that is happening on earth. Nothing escapes his notice. We have not been forgotten by God.
2. God mourns over sin
We read in Psalm 78:40 about how God felt about the sin of his people “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the wasteland.” Their sin grieved God. We also know that Jesus mourned over the death of Lazarus. Death is the result of sin and is proof of the brokenness of our world. God is heartbroken over the brokenness of the world. Psalm 56:8 tells us that God sees and knows our heartbreak, saving our tears. God has not left the world without a remedy for the brokenness. He sent is only Son to live in this broken world and to face the consequence of sin head on. He is not indifferent about sin. He mourns over it and has worked in history to defeat it.
3. God will deal with sin and injustice
God is a God of justice. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you” (Psalm 89:14). It is an essential aspect of his reign. That means that he will not leave sin unpunished. We know that he sent Jesus to take the punishment for sin in the place of all those who trust in Jesus. We also know that ultimate judgement awaits all who have not turned to Christ. Peter reminds us that this is justice is metered out with extreme kindness. ‘The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ (2 Peter 3:9)
4. God can use evil for good
God is bigger than evil. He is sovereign over it and completely able to use it for his great purposes. We clearly see this in the story of Joseph told in Genesis. Although many horrible things happened to Joseph, he was able to say to brothers who had sold him into slavery, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20) God is in no way intimidated or taken by surprise by human evil. Nothing we do can thwart his good plans for his people.
5. God is the ultimate answer
Our hope for change does not ultimately lie in a reformed society or a reformed justice system. Our hope lies in God. The truth is, all people are sinners. Men and women. Rapists and justice advocates. Broken people cannot be our ultimate hope. Only a perfect God, who sent his Son down as a perfect man, can help us. We must put our ultimate hope in him. We can post of social media and march and ask more of our government – it’s right for Christians to fight for justice and peace. However, we must not be fooled into thinking that the ultimate answer is in any human establishment. Our ultimate hope is always and only in a renewed Heaven and earth when Jesus returns. We pray that he would find many who have turned to him when he comes back. If God is our ultimate hope, we have a reason to not fall into utter despair and hopelessness. We know where our hope is.