“And I saw that truly nothing happens by accident or luck, but everything by God’s wise providence … for matters that have been in God’s foreseeing wisdom, since before time began, befall us suddenly, all unawares; and so in our blindness and ignorance we say that this is accident or luck, but to our Lord God it is not so.”
–St. Juliana of Norwich
Was it luck, accident, or providence of God that saved this country last year from a coup? I believe it was the providence of God that spared this nation from a great evil.
Is the question of evil simply one of perspective or perhaps it is an issue beyond our mind’s capacity to understand in any form we currently call logic? Many would say the reality of evil would indicate that if there is a God then this good cannot be all-powerful or not good. If God were all-powerful and allowed evil, how could such a God be good? If God is not all-powerful then how could God be God and not simply another aspect of creation?
I have no doubt that evil exists. Experience has taught me evil can have a personality (a very dark and violent personality) and that evil can affect the thinking of people who consider themselves morally good and even would call themselves Christian. The breaching of the capitol last year on January 6th was an act of evil. Good people (deceived people) and evil people participated in that act. I believe that evil’s ultimate goal in that event was thwarted by divine providence.
God does act against evil. God may not act against evil as we would want God to act, but this is because, as the prophet Isaiah communicated to us, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:9 NIV)
Evil is always with us. Evil is always trying to spiritually damage us. Evil works through every human institution and endeavors to try to corrupt any soul it can. God seeks to love every soul and strives to make this love known so that a person can choose to love God if they are willing to respond. The existence of evil does not indicate God is not all-powerful. It indicates that God operates in a manner that respects the free will of every human being. God counters evil by giving grace to every sinful person (everyone sins, an action that separates us from the loving presence of God within our own hearts) in order that we have the capacity to acknowledge God’s love and forgiveness.
As we reflect on the events of January 6, 2021, we need to remember how evil used good people as well as bad people to do a wicked thing. I have no doubt Jesus would have (and likely is) deeply disappointed by the actions of those who claim to follow him who participated in that terrible event.
Today is Epiphany, a time for light. The political path was one that Jesus shunned. Some try to say, “Well, Jesus cleansed the temple.” The Capitol is not the temple of God, we are. Jesus driving the money changers out was because of the misuse of the temple. Perhaps driving the love of mammon out of our lives would be more appropriate than allowing evil to guide us down a different path other than one of violence, hatred, and division.
We need to remember this nation cannot save us. Today I remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” (Isa. 42:16 NIV)
Lord, guide us out of the darkness of the political “cultural wars” and into the light of our blessed hope. God will walk with us.