“Why does God allow evil?”
This question commonly challenges the goodness of God, particularly from those looking for a reason to ignore God. Taking into consideration man’s rebellion against God, the perfect holiness of God, and God’s righteous justice leads to a counter question: “Why does God restrict evil?” Our limited perspective fails to comprehend God’s restraint of evil because we focus on immediate circumstances while excluding historical context and, most importantly, revelation.
First Samuel 23:14 helps to realign our thinking. The previous verses reveal the opposition David faces from Saul. But, each time Saul seems to gain an advantage, David escapes. This makes no sense. Saul’s resources exceed David’s. Other men work for Saul to trap David. How does David continue to escape?
The answer comes from a window of revelation: And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.
God’s choice to protect His people guarantees their safety. God restricts the purposes of evil and evil men.
Faith accepts that God ultimately overcomes evil to carry out His purposes and plan. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s testimony when refusing to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol demonstrate a grounded response in face of evil: Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. (Daniel 3:17-18, ESV)
Ultimately, every person must decide between serving the originator of evil (Satan, cf. John 8:44) or the Restrainer and Victor over evil. The apostle John encourages those who choose the latter with these words: I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. (1 John 2:14b)
Just as God protected David from Saul, those believing on the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation have no cause to fear. The most terrifying prospect of standing before God on our own merits and being eternally condemned has been handled. Evil men might take our lives, but Jesus told us to not fear. Evil, at its worst, ushers the Christian into the Savior’s presence.
Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)