"I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things." [Isaiah 45:7. NIV]
What an interesting thought or should I say a somewhat perplexing thought. Here we see a God who describes himself as being actively involved in all that is happening in our world – in the good and the bad – at least permitting it, if not causing it. I know of some people who would prefer this verse to say that "God forms the light and brings prosperity" and that "the devil creates the darkness and brings disaster." But it doesn't say that. I wonder why?
John Oswalt in the NIV Application Commentary on Isaiah says this: "In this assertion Isaiah is denying the pagan understanding that good and evil (or light and dark) are two externally coexistent principles battling in the universe. There is only one first principle, and he is light and good. If darkness and evil exist, they do so because the one God permits them to exist. In that sense, he is responsible for their existence. But if the thought ended here, we might conclude that God has a kind of neutral position on the direction of the world. Verse 8 shows that is not the case. God does care passionately about the direction his creation takes. He expects that 'right' (understood as an expression of his own character) will prevail and that 'salvation' (in thesense of deliverance from all the effects of evil) will rule. That is what he created the earth for." [Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 2003, p.514]
I find this all both scary and comforting. Somewhat scary in that God is allowing a lot of evil to happen in our world causing suffering for many people. Comforting in that God is obviously in full control of all that is happening and is bringing about his purpose and plan through it all.
The apostle Paul reflects on it this way …
"… we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them … Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:28, 35-39. NLT]
We can only trust that although God is not safe (as C.S. Lewis says of Aslan the lion in The Chronicles of Narnia), he is good.