Last week the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States ended. Hundreds of thousands of people in the country were negatively affected in a direct way, and many more were indirectly affected. The estimate by the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cost of this historic event approaches $11 billion. It is quite a ridiculous sum of money, especially considering that it was incurred as a result of fighting between political parties over issues that are still unresolved. There is little argument in declaring that this event is an embarrassing failure of the nation’s leaders on all sides to manage the resources they are responsible for governing. Yet, it happened for a reason.
God allowed the shutdown to happen as a manifestation of man’s utter inability to govern. Satan has great wrath towards this country, and at this point, God does not prevent Satan’s evil actions because this nation has to be punished for its many sins. God has decreed the downfall of this country. Sadly, innocent people will be affected in the process, but we can trust in God for His protection.
As damaging as the government shutdown has been, we can be sure that God was involved in allowing it in order to fulfill His overall plan. Solomon writes about God’s involvement during detrimental times in Ecclesiastes 7:14, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.”
Even the times when bad things happen are under God’s control. We understand, of course, that in this day and age, Satan is the ruler of the world, including the USA. But he can do nothing which God does not permit, and God allows nothing which would be against His overall plan and purpose for mankind.
For reasons that we might not always understand, circumstances take place that bring about an effect that can seem to have categorically negative consequences. We may even be directly affected. However, if we trust in God, we have nothing to fear because a wonderful and perfect plan is being worked out.
When we consider the terrible situation of Joseph, when he was sold into slavery by his brothers, it is humanly easy to judge the actions as being unjust, which they were. But even Joseph himself could see the hand of God in the matter. When Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt, he revealed himself to them saying, “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life… So now it was not you who sent me here, but God…” (Genesis 45:5-8). In the individual adversity of Joseph, and in the famine of the entire region of the Middle East, humanly negative events took place to fulfill a greater plan of God.
Is there any reason that we should consider our lives to be any different? Does God allow difficult things to happen in our lives and does He allow the destruction of the nations we live in for no particular reason? Of course not. At scales small and great, God is conducting a symphony of events to bring about His plan. This plan ultimately involves the establishment of the Kingdom of God on the Earth under the rulership of Jesus Christ. But it also involves shaping our own behaviors to become ever-more obedient, following the model of Jesus Christ’s perfect life. Throughout the entirety of history, detrimental events take place, and they will continue to do so. But all of these events are permitted, and sometimes even directly caused by God for His purpose.