When I was young we had a politically incorrect character from Frito Lay that was in a lot of their commercials. He was the Frito Bandito. He was a bumbling thief with a Hispanic accent trying to steal Fritos. He had a large buddy with him who was apparently much brighter than he was except for the fact that he was following the Frito Bandito around. In one "episode" the Bandito tried to break into the Fritos factory only to find himself, through a series of errors, piled in a heap outside the door with aches and pains but no Fritos. The last lines of the commercial went like this.

Bandito: "That didn't go like I planned it."

Sidekick: "You planned this?"

Perhaps you heard about the tragic death of Charles Wesco, a missionary from Indiana to Cameroon. The family moved their 12 days before his death. Charles was in a car with his wife and son and another missionary who was driving. They were caught in crossfire between two forces. Two bullets went through the windshield and killed Wesco. No one else in the car was injured. Charles's brother, Timothy, believes they were targeted as "white, English-speaking Americans." The government believes it was random, a case of wrong place, wrong time. What we want to know is "Why?" Why would God allow this? How does this kind of thing happen? Couldn't God have prevented it?

We don't get the answer to the "Why" question. That's God's pervue, and generally speaking He doesn't share that with us. But the rest we can know. God allows "bad things" to happen even to His own dear children for a good reason (Genesis 50:20). No, let me shorten that. God allows "bad things" to happen even to His own dear children for good. How can we be sure of that? Scripture tells us that God planned the worst of all possible "bad things" for a good outcome.

Truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place." (Acts 4:27-28)

That ultimate bad was the murder of His Son. That genuine good was the salvation of His people. The text tells us that the leadership and the people were doing not merely what they planned, but "whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place." Not always pleasant, but always good.

The murder of this father on the mission field to serve the Lord is sad and tragic, but if it is true that "God causes all things to work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28), then this sad tragedy is for good. We can weep with those who weep and still rejoice that God will bring good out of it, a pre-planned good that cannot fail to be accomplished. The same is true for every event in our lives.

We might be tempted to ask, "You planned this?" Consider the alternative. Is God either unable to protect those He wishes to protect or just unwilling, or both? Or ... is Scripture absolutely right about God working all things according to the purpose of His will? You choose which you think is right. I find far more comfort in the latter.