A lot of times when something good happens in the world or in our own personal lives we like to say that God has "done" amazing things. We confess that it is He who brings such wonders about. But when some disaster strikes, either on a personal scale or a global one, we use different language. We like to say that God "allowed" such and such to come to pass. That way it doesn't sound so much like God is directly responsible, but we still acknowledge that it didn't happen outside of His control. The idea seems to be that God can generate the energy and the cause to bring about good, but He is more passive when the bad things happen, merely "allowing" them. But is this an idea that we get from the Bible?
I recently had the pleasure of preaching Psalm 107 at our Olney Baptist Association Annual Meeting this past Monday. What is striking about that Psalm is that in each of the four main verses, God is actively bringing pain and hardship into the lives of His people in order to develop them by it and then deliver them from it. In verse 4 there is a reference to wilderness wanderings, something that God directly brought about in the lives of Abraham and later the Israelites of the Exodus. In verse 12 it is God who bows down their hearts with hard labor so that they fall down. In verse 25 it is God who stirs up the great storm that frightens His people, just so that He can calm it down again and they can know that He is God. This is not a God who passively reacts to events in His universe. This is a God who brings all things to pass for His good purposes. He does whatever He wants, and He does it all for a reason.
Isaiah 45:7 states the case in probably the most blunt way in all the Bible: "I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am Yahweh, who does all these things."
God neither needs nor wants His creatures to soften the truth that He is in control of all things. We don't need to use phrases like "God allowed this or that". It is perfectly acceptable and Biblical for us to say, "God brought this about for His own purposes, and we know that His purposes are wise and just and good and that His ways are above our ways. Therefore, we will submit to His will and trust Him to always do the right thing."