One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” (Job 1:6-7 NIV)
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)
Sometimes I’m bothered by the things that don’t bother God.
One day the heavenly beings come before God, and The Liar, our Adversary, comes with. So God strikes up a conversation that goes something like,
God: “Hey man. Watcha up to?”
Satan: “Oh, not much. Just roaming around the earth you created to reflect your glory looking for someone to destroy.”
Now the line I expect to read next is something like,
God: “Dude, you gotta knock that off. The earth is my world and I can’t have you messin’ it up. Now behave yourself or I’m kickin’ you out.”
But that’s not what comes next. Instead I read something like,
God: “Oh really? Have you tried that guy Job? Betcha can’t destroy him!”
Doesn’t it seem odd that God isn’t the least bit bothered that his enemy is roaming about his creation seeking to devour people? That really bothers me. I don’t want the enemy roaming about the world seeking to devour me! I don’t want God bringing me up in a little side challenge to demonstrate his supremacy. I don’t want to live in a world with evil and pain and suffering. You’d think God would be concerned about such a predicament and make it the focus of the conversation, but that’s not what he does. In fact, the presence of his enemy upon his creation doesn’t seem to bother him in the least.
Here are two things I think about this.
First, the presence of evil DOES bother God and he’s doing something about it. The fact is that we live in a fallen world and that pain and suffering is our own fault. God has solved the problem and redeemed all of creation through Jesus. That narrative, however, is still being played out leaving us in an “already/not yet” state: God has already redeemed creation, but creation has not yet been fully redeemed. So, we must continue to live with The Liar roaming the earth seeking someone to devour while God continues his redemption process. This means that as long as I live on this earth I will experience pain and suffering and an enemy who is actively seeking my demise.
Second, I need God’s perspective. The reason I’m bothered by The Liar’s presence upon this earth is because I feel helpless against him. He wreaks havoc everywhere he goes and it feels as if there is nothing I can do about it. Look at what he did to Job! But God isn’t bothered by The Liar’s presence because The Liar has no power on his own. He has only what God allows him. He doesn’t foil the plans of God because he is part of the plans of God. He is able to accomplish only what God allows him to accomplish. He is merely a marionette in the hands of the Omnipotent. Yes, I know this brings up even more questions about God’s goodness, but that’s for another time. The point is that God doesn’t see The Liar as a threat, so why should I? Satan is a pawn who is playing a role that God allows for his own purposes. Yes, I should be aware of him. Yes, I should be mindful of his traps. Yes, I should be alert to his schemes. But The Liar’s presence needn’t bother me for God is the one who is sovereign.