Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (Psalm 91:9-10)
Many will protest from an earthly perspective that they have known saints whom evil befell or plague afflicted. Yet, the Bible assures us that apparent evil in the life of the saint is actually meant for good. Remember Joseph’s words to his brothers, “But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). Under the sovereignty of God, the selling of Joseph into slavery by his brothers ultimately led to Joseph becoming prime minister of Egypt. It was as prime minister of Egypt that Joseph was able to save his family from starvation during a seven-year famine.
The Psalmist said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (Psalm 119:67). Sometimes a sovereign God allows His saints to be physically afflicted for some greater spiritual good, the consequence of which is a grateful heart for the heavenly good reaped from what first appeared to be an earthly evil.
The Apostle Paul assures us in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Nothing can happen in the lives of God’s saints that a sovereign God does not allow; and the only thing God will allow in the lives of His saints is what He intends for the saints’ ultimate good. Thus, no evil can actually befall the people of God. Apparent evils viewed from a heavenly perspective are actually ultimate goods.
From an earthly perspective, Christ’s death on the cross appears to be the worst thing that has ever occurred. From a heavenly perspective, however, it was meant for the salvation of the world. Even the seeming worst of evils translate into ultimate goods once seen through the prism of divine providence. As the Apostle Paul audaciously acclaims in Philippians 1:21, even death “is gain” to the Christian.
“There is no circumstance, no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart.” (Alan Redpath)