Living In A World Full of Monsters

by Oct 22, 2013


I have four young kids, so every night, at least one of them has a nightmare. They’ll run out of their bedroom and say, “Daddy, I’m scared!” I’ll ask, “What are you scared of?” It’s always the same answer: “Monsters!”

I take the same approach every night. First of all, I’m not going to try to lie to them. I’m not going to tell them there’s no such thing as monsters. I know there are things in this world, people in this world, and spiritual forces in this world that are a hundred times worse than the little monsters they’re imagining in their heads. I’m not going to try to deny that.

Instead, what I say is, “So what if there are monsters? God’s in control! He’s in charge of those monsters. He won’t let anyone do anything to you that he doesn’t want. He won’t let anything happen to you that he doesn’t want.” And as I’m reassuring my kids with that truth, God’s reassuring me with that truth.

It’s what the ancient songwriter knew: “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous” (Psalm 125:2-3).

A scepter is a symbol of authority and sovereignty. Whoever holds the scepter is the guy who’s reigning. The guy in charge. So this song tells us that no matter what happens, evil will never rule over us. We live in a crazy, chaotic, messed-up world where monsters live and evil happens, but it will never rule over God’s kids, the people who’ve been declared righteous by the grace of God. Evil doesn’t hold the scepter, God does.

In fact, the songwriter even seemed to be saying that whatever evil happens to us isn’t really an evil in the first place… it’s a good! That’s why he says in the verse immediately following, “Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts!” (Psalm 125:4). When evil comes against you, it’s actually God doing good. Why? Because it forces you to trust in God.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “I’ve learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”

The waves are going to come. Attacks. Tragedies. Disappointments. Diseases. Conflicts. Losses. But God will use those things to drive you to him, the only fail-proof source of security in the universe. As the prophet Jeremiah said, “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” (Lam. 3:37-38).

When bad things happen, some Christians assume that it’s Satan attacking them. That’s always a possibility, but most of the time what’s really happening is that God is stripping away our idols of control and comfort, and security. He’s taking away the false gods we were clinging to. Satan doesn’t want to take things away from you. He wants you to keep those things, because he wants you to put your trust in those things rather than putting your trust in God. When life gets hard, it’s probably not Satan bringing a spiritual attack. It’s God doing spiritual surgery.

When bad things happen, it’s not the scepter of evil ruling over you. It’s the hand of God caring for you. It’s the hand of God disciplining you, just like every good dad disciplines his kids. It’s the hand of God driving you to take comfort in him.

Then we can pass it along to others who experience the same kind of evil in this crazy, chaotic, messed-up world. That’s Paul’s challenge to us: “God comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor 1:4).