Sometimes when I want to start a fire, the wind puts it out. But when I try to keep a fire burning, wind keeps it going. So, in the first situation, I label wind “bad” because it thwarts my plans; in the other, I label it “good” because it helps me accomplish what I want to get done.
This paradox illustrates how we judge things by the way they affect us. We declare circumstances or people “bad” if they thwart our plans or cause us inconvenience. We judge circumstances or people “good” if we agree with them and they support our cause.
But God is the One who determines what is good or bad, and He does so not by how it affects our plans but by whether or not it accomplishes His. His plan is that we would be “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” And His purpose for us is to “proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
To accomplish God’s good purpose, we are to respect all people, love other believers, fear God, and honor those who rule over us—even when something doesn’t seem good to us (v.17). These kinds of actions may fan a spark of belief in those who observe our responses to “bad” circumstances and most of all bring praise to God.