God Redeems All He Allows

Jim DenisonBy Jim Denison6 Minutes

Excerpt taken from The Coming Tsunami: Why Christians Are Labeled Intolerant, Irrelevant, Oppressive, and Dangerous – and How We Can Turn the Tide by Dr. Jim Denison


Part 3: God Redeems All He Allows

Christians believe that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving. These claims offer us our greatest hope but also open our faith to its greatest challenge.

We believe that God is all-knowing because the Bible says that God “knows everything” (1 John 3:20) and claims, “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

We also believe that God is all-powerful. Jesus claimed that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). He declared: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matthew 10:29). The psalmist combined these two assertions: “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5).

And we believe that God is all-loving. The Bible teaches that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). As a result, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Christians add that these three attributes are demonstrated most clearly in the life and ministry of Jesus. He knew the thoughts of those with whom he dealt (Luke 6:8; Matthew 12:25) and could predict the future (cf. Matthew 16:21); he was omnipotent over raging storms (Mark 4:35–41) and diseased bodies (cf. Matthew 8:1–4); and his love compelled his compassionate ministry (cf. Matthew 9:36).

Why, then, does he allow his people to suffer?

• Because he is omniscient, he sees the “earthquakes” we’ve identified in this book and their dire consequences for his people.

• Because he is omnipotent, he could stop what is happening to his people.

• Because he is all-loving, it would seem that he would want to.

And yet he has not.

I have wrestled with the theological problem of innocent suffering my entire Christian life. (I wrote extensively on the subject in Making Sense of Suffering: 7 Biblical Ways to Help Hurting People). I understand that much suffering comes from misused freedom (cf. Romans 1:21–32), that God can use suffering to strengthen his people (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7–10), that we will understand the present better in the future (Romans 8:18), and that God suffers as we suffer (cf. John 11:35).

In recent years, however, I have come to embrace an additional theological truth that has given me great hope and encouragement: God redeems all he allows.

• Because he is all-knowing, he knows everything we face.

• Because he is all-powerful, he is sovereign over the world and must allow or cause all that happens.

• Because he is all-loving, his character is perfect and he can only want what is best for us.

As a result, if he allows anything he does not redeem for a greater good, he makes a mistake. But God is “holy, holy, holy” and cannot make a mistake (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8).

Therefore, he must redeem all he allows.

I am not suggesting that we will see or understand such redemption in this life. I don’t understand the airplanes on which I fly or the computer on which I am typing these words. But one day we will understand what we do not understand today (1 Corinthians 13:12) and see how “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

In the meantime, our Father calls us to join him in redeeming the tsunami we are facing. Rather than retreating from the challenges we face, let’s embrace them. Rather than withdrawing from the culture, keeping our salt in the saltshaker and our light under a basket (Matthew 5:13–16), let’s engage those who oppose biblical morality by “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

In this concluding part, we’ll discover ways to defend biblical truth with persuasive clarity and personal compassion. And we’ll find ways to turn our obstacles into opportunities and our challenges into open doors for the gospel.

Our Lord is calling us to partner with him in redeeming these days for his glory and our good.

It is always too soon to give up on God.