Good News in the Midst of Bad Stuff

Met someone for coffee yesterday, someone I had only met casually before. This was to be our first “real conversation.” And real it was.

We could have talked about March Madness and the college basketball that had just finished. Or, we could have talked Mariners and the baseball season which was just beginning. Instead, pretty quickly he wanted to talk about why, if God had something that was so good, did those who follow Him have to deal with so much stuff that was so bad?

This is gonna be quite a coffee, I thought to myself. And it was. ‘Cause we talked about Jesus and the dynamics of faith. We talked about good news in the midst of bad stuff.

That conversation may been the filter that set up what caught my eye this morning as I entered into the book of Judges.

These are the nations the Lord left in order to test all those in Israel who had experienced none of the wars in Canaan. This was to teach the future generations of the Israelites how to fight in battle, especially those who had not fought before. These nations included the five rulers of the Philistines and all of the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who lived in the Lebanese mountains from Mount Baal-hermon as far as the entrance to Hamath. The Lord left them to test Israel, to determine if they would keep the Lord’s commands he had given their ancestors through Moses.

(Judges 3:1-4 CSB)

You read the opening chapters of Judges and it quickly becomes apparent that what should have been “Operation Occupy the Land” devolved quickly into “Operation Share the Land.” The land had been given to them as the Lord had promised. Theirs was to continue to move into it by evicting the previous inhabitants. Though warned against living side by side with the previous owners of the land, Israel quickly went from “could not” defeat their enemies because of iron chariots to “did not” remove their enemies because of apparent inconvenience (Jud. 1:19-21). And so, the Lord left the nations in order to test Israel.

He left opposition and struggle in their lives to see how they’d respond. Testing them not in order to “pass or fail” them, but testing them in order to prove them, assay them, purify them. His objective was not to show them up as having fallen to failure, but to teach them how to fight by faith. How to stand amidst the struggle. How to practically enter each day trusting the God who had brought them into the land to enable them to actually possess the land.

Had they allowed it to be so, the struggle could have been redemptive. The suffering used to secure their salvation. Their difficulty a road to knowing in a deeper way their Deliverer.

I told my first-time coffee friend that while I didn’t know the why of bad stuff in the lives of good people, I did know the what. The ultimate prize is always Jesus. A deeper trust in Him leading to a deeper relationship with Him. God allowing our faith to be tested so that we might prove the sufficiency of His grace for all our trials and the reality of His power in all our weakness. Daily battles making real His eternal promises.

And that’s good news in the midst of bad stuff. Amen?

By His grace. For His glory.

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2 Responses to Good News in the Midst of Bad Stuff

  1. brent94380af445 says:

    Yes, Amen. Hard to swallow in the midst of life’s tragic events, but God doesn’t need to prove his justice and love to us yet again. God is good and his plan is perfect, yet bad things can happen to good people including those that follow him. Don’t always know why at the time.

    Thanks Pete, love you Brother!

  2. Audrey Lavigne says:


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