What to do When it Feels Like Evil Wins
Have you ever felt like the Lord isn’t present or doesn’t care about your situation? Perhaps you’re on the verge of feeling hopeless?
It can be easy to lose sight of the mission you’re on with Christ when life gets hard. How do you strive for Him when it feels like He isn’t for you?
I was having a bit of a rebellious week in the middle of June. I was frustrated and could feel apathy growing. I was angry at God, angry with myself, and angry with myself for being angry at God. Why had He given me words of hope and promise if He didn’t plan to fulfill them? A war of truth and lies was ever active in my mind. I couldn’t help but write God’s truth in my journal and yet what I wanted to write were the lies I was believing instead. I kept praying, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10.
I knew I was sinning. Though a seed of anger and apathy was still within me, I could feel the Lord working too. He was giving me lessons throughout the week in my time with Him while reading the Bible. Stories about the contrast of trusting the Lord or not. Stories of His faithfulness, provision, justice, and grace, even when the people didn’t want to follow Him. He was patient while they wrestled the boundaries of serving Yahweh, people, or foreign gods.
The Lord began softening my heart when I read 2 Chronicles 22-23. King Ahaziah was on the throne of Judah. His father, mother, and him all followed the ways of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel from Israel. The king and queen of Israel were wicked and had no regard for the Lord God of Israel. Though Ahaziah’s grandfather, Jehoshaphat, walked with the Lord, his descendants were turning away from Him.
This was tragic because although the northern state of Israel had abandoned their God, the southern state of Judah continued to mostly follow Him until this point. Almost all of the Levites and priests, along with many of the people in the northern tribes had defected to Judah in order to still be able to worship Yahweh. Now, even this state’s leaders were turning away.
King Ahaziah was killed. His mother, Athaliah, saw it as an opportunity to usurp the throne and take it for herself.
“Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah. 11 But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were about to be put to death, and she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of Jehoiada the priest, because she was a sister of Ahaziah, hid him from Athaliah, so that she did not put him to death. 12 And he remained with them six years, hidden in the house of God, while Athaliah reigned over the land.” – 2 Chronicles 22:10-12
I’m guessing that almost all of Judah had no idea that Ahaziah’s youngest son Joash was alive after this mass murder. It would have seemed hopeless to the Jews. God had made a promise that David would always have a son to sit on his throne forever (2 Chronicles 21:7), yet as far as the Jews knew, all of the sons were murdered. This wicked woman reigned on the throne in Jerusalem for six whole years. She served foreign idols and had used utensils from God’s temple to serve the foreign god, Baal. The people of Yahweh had thought the southern state was safe, but now it looked just as bad as the northern state of Israel. With no where else to go, their hope would have begun to diminish.
Where was the Lord in all of this? Why hadn’t He done anything? Where was His promise to David?
The Lord was patient in waiting for Joash to grow. He was away from Athaliah and under the guidance and provision of his aunt and uncle. Though Joash was still young, Jehoida the priest taught him the ways of the Lord rather than the evil ways of Israel. He was protected.
Then, when the time was right, Jehoiada quietly summoned all of the leaders throughout Judah to gather at the temple. He equipped the heads of the military and the Levites with David’s armour that was stored in the temple.
“They brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony. And they proclaimed him king, and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and they said, “Long live the king.”
12 When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she went into the house of the Lord to the people. 13 And when she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and the singers with their musical instruments leading in the celebration. And Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!” 14 Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains who were set over the army, saying to them, “Bring her out between the ranks, and anyone who follows her is to be put to death with the sword.” For the priest said, “Do not put her to death in the house of the Lord.” 15 So they laid hands on her, and she went into the entrance of the horse gate of the king’s house, and they put her to death there.” 2 Chronicles 23: 11-15
It looked like evil won. It seemed as though no one was left in David’s line to take back the throne. It would feel like all hope had been lost and God was absent. And yet…the Lord had been present the whole time. He was working behind the scenes preparing this young boy to take over and lead the people back to the Lord and to peace. He was providing protected counsel for him, away from evil, in order to raise up a new generation that feared the Lord once again. Hope wasn’t lost. The Lord continued to be faithful in keeping His promise to David to have his lineage on the throne forever.
Sometimes it can feel like the Lord is absent from your life. It may seem that hope is lost and that God isn’t going to come through on His promises to you. Be patient and wait on the Lord. He is always working behind the scenes, waiting for the perfect moment to do what He desires for you. That promise might be hidden within “His temple” awaiting the right time to be revealed. Stay the course.
Bring your sin before the cross and lay it down. Confess it and ask for forgiveness. Our faithful Saviour is always ready to forgive a repentant heart. Don’t take your eyes off of the Creator. Worship and wait in this moment. This too shall pass and when it does, you’ll rejoice all the more gladly.