Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001

Subject: Strange & Mysterious

Good Morning Ethan  & Emily:

On talk radio this morning, everyone is agreeing that this is a year that will pass with much relief that it is over….as it has been a difficult and tragic year in many ways…but particularly because of September 11th.

Jesus was upfront with us that in this world with sin at work and Satan and his cohorts on the loose, we would have trouble:  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  Hate, envy, selfishness, and murder…are the result of sin and rebellion against God and their consequences are always devastating.

But, as Jesus said, we can “take heart” because God is on the throne and He “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”  (Romans 8:28).

This means that not just good…but also the evil present in this fallen world…can come upon us.  But as His children and by faith, God is able to transform every incident for our long-range good. 

He even uses our enemies to accomplish His purposes in our lives.  Isaiah prophesied that “After the Lord has used the king of Assyria to accomplish His purposes in Jerusalem, He will turn against the king of Assyria and punish Him….” (Isaiah 10: 12).  God chosen people had turned against him and fallen into deep sin. In punishment and to bring them back to Himself, God would allow them to fall into the hands of their enemies…but in everything He was in control!  Later He would restore His people to their land with the aid of another foreign ruler, Cyrus of Persia.  “I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide all his actions.  He will restore my city and free my captive people…” (Isaiah 45: 13)

Truly, God determines the course of world events and nothing that happened in 2001 caught Him by surprise.  Daniel said it simply and directly:  “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for He alone has all wisdom and power.  He determines the course of world events; He removes kings and sets others on the throne….” (Daniel 2: 21).

Without a doubt, George Bush is our President because God so willed it.  Nothing about the election happened by chance.  God’s heart, I know, was also grieved by the events of Sept. 11th, but He is working even in these evil acts to bring about good.  Just look at the reestablishment of values, faith in God, patriotism, and compassion in our country…and you can see God working.  Just as in the case of Assyria and Jerusalem, He will use even our enemies to work for good in our lives, but He will eventually bring evil to justice.  “Pay day” is coming for these evildoers!

Isaiah said it well when he concluded:  “Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in strange and mysterious ways.” (Isaiah 45: 15).  Strange and mysterious…but always working for our good!  Let us resolve to love Him and to serve Him more faithfully in the New Year!

All my love,