So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. -Genesis 45:8a
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28
One of the unbeliever's favorite questions is: "If God is good, why is there evil in the world?"
Wrong answer: any variation on the theme that God merely "allows" evil to exist, implying that He is not in control, ultimately of all that exists.
Writing under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), James reminds us that God is not tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone (1:13-15).
It is a difficult concept to grasp that God, without being the author of evil, controls it and uses it for his own purposes. The Bible is clear, however, that this is so.
Honestly, it is quite comforting to know that even men's most wicked actions are being used by God to accomplish His perfect, pleasing and acceptable will.
It's what enabled Joseph to forgive his brothers. Or Paul to persevere in his missionary calling in spite of severe persecution. Or for you and I to pray for the forgiveness of those who wrong us.
Our lives are seldom like those of the characters in nighttime TV dramas who are beset by wicked, malevolent people, bent on inflicting misery and destruction.
No, we are afflicted(?) by the banality of the humdrum everyday neighbor lost in the mediocrity of selfishness. People much like ourselves, in fact.
For most of us, the evil we suffer comes at the hands of those who have not much thought for us or our well-being; who actually care only about achieving their own gratification.
Lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and pride of life. Adam and Eve were perfect yet yielded to these temptations. How much more so are we, God's imperfect children, prone to fall into the same snares.
The smallest thing; an offhand word, an unintended slight can cause us grief. Are we as careful as we ought to be, not to cause offense ourselves?
Jesus instructed us to pray for forgiveness, even as we forgave others. How rich in meaning is this simple command. It covers the entire range of hurt, unintended or not, that we tend to inflict upon each other.
So let the evil I suffer be used by my Father for good and may I return good for that evil, as best I can.