When God Disappoints

Every Christian has moments when they wonder, “Why did that happen to me?  How could a good God allow this situation?” We believe that if we ‘play by the rules’ faithfully following Christ Jesus, our Lord, life will go well. On the whole, that is true. There are great blessings found in responding to the invitation to ‘come and follow Me.’  A heart that desires the will of God is aligned to the purposes of God and generally leads a life that is richer and fuller.

But there are moments when life does not make sense, when it seems to us that He has shut His eyes to our need. What then?

Job, that Old Testament saint, found himself in just that place. Tragedy and death came to him. His wealth evaporated overnight. His health collapsed and even his wife advised him to “Curse God and die!” (Job 2.9) He was distraught, broken, struggling with faith when his friends showed up. The dialogue is a fascinating study of human attempts to wrestle with cause and effect. 

His friends insist that Job has brought the calamity on himself with some secret sin. He was told to “consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the chastening of the Almighty when you sin. For though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal. He will rescue you again and again so that no evil can touch you.” (Job 5:17-19, NLT)  “Job, all this would pass IF you would just confess your sin.”  

His friends were not so different from us, are they? We become convinced that if we do all the right things that the outcome will be good. We find comfort in drawing straight lines from choice to consequence and how quick we are to throw blame and even shame back on the head of the one who is suffering. We judge, sometimes harshly!  It is true what we harvest a crop from the seeds we plant. The blessings of God are given to the faithful – generally! But sometimes it is His purpose to do otherwise for reasons hidden from us in the moment. 

We have the ‘inside’ truth on Job. We know that he was God’s man, tested by Satan, in an attempt to prove that his devotion was only a response to God’s rich blessings. Even knowing that our hearts ache for him as we read of his struggle.  He cries out to God. “I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me—tell me the charge you are bringing against me. What do you gain by oppressing me? Why do you reject me, the work of your own hands, while sending joy and prosperity to the wicked?” (Job 10:1-3, NLT)  There are both anguish and anger in those words.

And how does his friend reply?  Zophar’s indictment of Job is harsh – “Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words? Is a person proved innocent just by talking a lot? Should I remain silent while you babble on? When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed? You claim, ‘My teaching is pure,’ and ‘I am clean in the sight of God.’ If only God would speak; if only he would tell you what he thinks! If only he would tell you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom is not a simple matter. Listen! God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve!” (Job 11:2-6, NLT)  But, this judging friend was wrong, his conclusions based on what could be seen with human eyes and deduced with human wisdom.

There are two lessons, among many, that I take from these reading today.

First is that we must be compassionate, withholding judgment, standing alongside the suffering while waiting for clarity and understanding.  It may be true that the consequences of sin and failure are causing a friend pain, but our condemnation, our willingness to take the judgment seat that belongs to God alone is wrong. The Word says “Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2, NLT)

Second is this: Keep trusting God even in the dark!

Job cries and complains but he never takes the advice of his wife to curse God. He continues to wrestle with the Lord he loves.  God never did explain Himself to Job, but He revealed His majesty to him anew and deepened Job’s humble devotion. What an amazing fact for us who love ourselves so much, who insist that God must serve our desire for happiness now! 

Our Savior stands with us. He entered His Creation to suffer for us and with us in the purpose of the Father. And now, He prays for us continually at the right hand of God. May that keep us steady when faith falters.

Here is a word from the Word. “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:15-18, NIV)   Oh, Lord, increase our faith. Amen.

(Video of this blog at this link)

_______________

My Faith Looks Up To Thee

My faith looks up to Thee
Thou Lamb of Calvary
Savior divine
Now hear me while I pray
Take all my guilt away
O let me from this day be wholly Thine

May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart
My zeal inspire
As Thou hast died for me
O may my love to Thee
Changeless be a living fire

While life’s dark maze I tread
And griefs around me spread
Be Thou my guide
Bid darkness turn to day
Wipe all sorrow and tears away
Nor let me ever stray from Thee aside

When ends life’s transient dream
When death’s cold sullen stream
Shall o’er me roll
Blest Savior then in love
Fear and distrust remove
O bear me safe above
A ransomed soul
O bear me safe above

Daniel Kallman | Lowell Mason | Ray Palmer
© Words: Public Domain

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