When Evil Visits by Steve Bezner

Evil in the world is far worse than any fairy tale villain.

Evil is real. And it will come calling.

You might bristle at the thought. You may not have experienced evil firsthand. But millions of our neighbors have no such luxury. Those in Ukraine who have seen their nation razed by Russian artillery know that Putin is an evil man. Those in Uvalde who grieve the loss of grade schoolers murdered know that evil kills. Those Uighurs lined up for involuntary organ harvesting within concentration camps at the hands of the Chinese government understand evil.

Lately our congregation has experience more evil than normal. A few weeks ago, five people with long-standing generational ties to our church were murdered. Just days after the funeral, another man in our congregation was murdered. And then, almost unbelievably, just days after that murder, a man in our church’s neighborhood was murdered. He lived across the street from one of our elders.

Each of these murders was senseless. No motive of vengeance. No sensational details.


Many within the United States or the comfortable confines of Western Christianity have hesitated to use the word “evil” in recent years. We have been insulated, perhaps, from pain. We have been protected from a violent government. We have experienced relative comfort and ease.

It’s why evil is so startling. When you are sailing smooth seas, you do not expect the hidden rocky crag waiting to destroy your ship’s hull.

But evil is here. No mistaking it.

The Bible is unflinching in its recognition of the reality of evil. Most biblical scholars agree that the oldest book of the Bible is Job—a timeless wrestle with evil in which a blameless man loses everything. The oldest writing in our collection of ancient Scriptures is a book grappling with the question of evil. Before the wonder of creation, the Bible stares down the problem of pain. Over and over, in fact, the Bible bluntly tells us that we will not escape this life unscathed:

“In this life you will have trouble.”

“It rains on the just and the unjust.”

“Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.”

“The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.”

Most of us have written a fairy tale for our lives in our minds. We have envisioned a blissful marriage or perfect children or eternal friendships or a skyrocketing career. But there are no fairy tale lives in the real world. In the real world, marriage is a fight. Children are impossible to predict. Friendships ebb and flow. If you have lived for very long, you have already experienced this.

But we tend to fantasize about the fairy tale, to try to rewrite the very things happening in front of us.

We would do well to take the unflinching view of the Bible:

You will find much beauty and good in the world. But you will also walk through fire. And you will be burned.

Some people mistakenly believe that if they choose to follow Jesus, they will not be touched by evil. But that is not the case. Jesus himself was murdered. His earliest followers were routinely beaten and killed.

Faith in Jesus does not protect us from evil. Faith in Jesus is what sustains us when evil visits.

When the Lord answers Job, He does not give Job easy answers as to why evil visits, but He does assure Job of one thing: His sovereignty over all of creation. He is the one who laid the foundations of the earth. He is the one who sees all things. He is the one who is wise.

Scripture is unflinching about the existence of evil. But the Bible is also unflinching about the goodness of God.

When evil comes, you will either look at the world and believe it to be random and meaningless, or you will trust that God is good and will work all things for the good according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

When evil comes, you will either hope in the Resurrection, or you will be hopeless because you will believe that death is the end.

God can redeem the worst of evils. I have seen it happen. I am watching it happen even now. I believe He can do it even in the midst of whatever evils may befall you. The first Christians believed that by suffering well we showed the very nature of God, because Jesus suffered well, and Jesus brought about redemption.

Yes, evil will visit. Yes, you will be burned by this life.

But while you are being burned, even as your storybook ship is being smashed by the crags of life, faith in Jesus can sustain and bring hope. Faith can redeem. Faith can give us the strength to carry on. Faith glorifies God while also bringing us closer to Him. Faith allows us to experience His love and peace when the world is on fire.

Faith is what allows Him to rewrite your story. To take what was meant for evil and to write it for good.

And that’s better than any fairy tale.

Because it’s the truth of how things really are.

Image: Subsplash, Daniel Jansen