Q. I was taught that God controls the orbit of our lives once we give our lives to Him. But I was also taught that we handed the world over to Satan in the garden. My question to you is this: I have been hit with a lot in my life, and all I can come up with is, I am still standing. If God is not doling out these trials, an accident here, a disease there, but it’s the devil is doing this, as you say, how does our faith impact God’s restraint of him?
A. Please keep in mind that I’m not the one who says Satan is currently in control of this world. It’s the Bible that says so. Jesus called Satan the prince of this world (John 14:30) Paul called him the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4) and John said the whole world is under his control (1 John 5:19).
Soon, at a time of His choosing, God will assert His ultimate authority and begin to re-establish the world as His kingdom (Rev. 11:16-17). But that time has not come yet. All the things that have hit you are Satan’s doing, but the fact that you’re still standing is God’s.
Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Paul wouldn’t be advising us to put on the full armor of God to protect ourselves from attacks by God, would he? No, he called it the day of evil.
When you came to a saving faith in the Lord He made you a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) perfect forever (Hebrews 10:14) without spot or blemish (Ephes. 5:27). Whatever purpose would it serve for him to dole out trials and hardship to His children? To make us even more perfect? Or because His death was not sufficient to perfect us? To lay these things at God’s feet is to impugn His character and deny His promises.
Our faith comes into the equation when we believe that through the Lord we can overcome the trials of this world (John 16:33) because the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4) and if we let Him, God can work even the disasters of our life together for our good (Romans 8:28). After all, He said He came so we can have a more abundant life (John 10:10)
We’re all familiar with the persecution Paul suffered at the hands of his enemies. (If not, read 2 Cor. 11:24-29) And yet He insisted on calling them his light and momentary troubles because He knew what His future looked like (2 Cor. 4:17-18). And in the meantime, every time he walked into a city to preach the gospel, He knew that no matter how badly he was treated, or how severely he was beaten, by the grace of God he would be healed and set upon the road to the next one. His faith gave him a life of joy (1 Thes. 3:19-20) and satisfaction (2 Tim. 4:7-8).