I bring you greetings this morning from Cuba, where I’ve spent the last several days. It was my privilege to preach in churches, teach pastors and church members, and witness first-hand the miraculous work of God’s Spirit on this beautiful island. This was my eighth trip to Cuba; each time I go, I return inspired by the miracles I witness.
More than a million Cubans have come to Christ in the last ten years. Many refer to the spiritual awakening going on there as the “Cuban miracle.” Churches are packed with worshippers; Christians share their faith openly and boldly; new believers are baptized despite the pressures they will face for making public their commitment to Jesus.
In recent days, I’ve made reference to my conviction that “God redeems all he allows.” Several readers have asked me to explain what I mean by this statement. Cuban Christianity is a perfect example of God’s redemption at work, so let’s discuss this vital subject in the context of their experience.
The Bible uses a variety of adjectives to describe God: he is love (1 John 4:8), omniscient (Psalm 147:5), omnipotent (Jeremiah 32:27), and so on. But only one attribute of God is repeated three times: he is “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). In Hebrew culture, repetition was used for emphasis. We might say that God is “holy, holier, holiest” to reach the superlative level; they repeated the adjective three times to achieve the same effect.
If God is the “holiest” being that exists, he must be perfect in every way (cf. Matthew 5:48). If he is perfect, he can never make a mistake. If he allows or causes anything in his creation which he does not redeem for a greater good, he has made a mistake in allowing or causing it. Therefore, I believe that God’s omniscience, omnipotence, and love require him to redeem for greater good all he allows or causes.
We may not see this redemption fully until we are in heaven, for “now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12). However, sometimes we can see God’s redemption at work in our present day, as with the Cuban revival. The persecution faced by Cuban Christians has purified their faith and strengthened their commitment to Jesus, serving as a catalyst for their spiritual awakening.
During one of my first trips to the island, I told a pastor that I would pray for persecution against his people to lessen. He asked me not to, explaining that their suffering had birthed their revival. Then he confided that he and other Cubans were praying for increased persecution to come against America’s Christians, so that we might be strengthened in our faith as well.
God redeems all he allows. How is this conviction relevant to your life this morning?