I recently had a conversation with a friend who is going through some hard times. As we talked about things that are going on, it came to me that if I wasn’t Christian I don’t think I would be able to stand it.
However, not all of us (Christians and Non-Christians) have the belief that God is with us in everything. Nor do all of us feel hope that he will bring us to the other side of our trials. Many Christians in fact walk away from God because of anger that he did not stop or intercede at times. They believe God allowed the thing to happen and therefore they are angry at him. I can understand this feeling, but the bible tells us that the bad things in life come out of the sin that is in the earth (not always our own sin, but a result of others).
But how can sin be the cause when a baby dies of cancer? a person tortures an animal?, or there is a mass shooting in an elementary school? Well, I don’t have the cut and dried answer to why God doesn’t stop these things, or why the innocent are not always sheltered from the action of sinners. What I do have is the Bible that has some passages that outline what God is like and those may give some answers to help us accept that these things are in his Godly plan, even though we cannot fathom it.
When I lean to blaming God and being angry at him, I read Job, specifically chapters 38 to 42. I find the chastising that Job received in these chapters are just as relevant to me today, so I try to imagine I am standing before God as he says these things to me. This usually re-establishes in me a feeling of humility as I realise I know nothing compared to God.
The following are key verses I focus on:
Job 38: 1-7. Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?
Job 38: 16-21 Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!
Job 40:1-14. The LORD said to Job: “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” Then Job answered the LORD: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more.”Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:“Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.“Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty. Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at all who are proud and bring them low, look at all who are proud and humble them, crush the wicked where they stand. Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave. Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you.
These passages remind me that God is ALL powerful, present, knowing. He is also infinite, unchanging, sovereign, loving, Holy, righteous, just, faithful, eternal, good and loving. The bottom line is he completely in control, and controls as he deems to be the just and righteous way that brings about good. That doesn’t mean we will always see the “good” outcome in our time. It could be years from now, or seconds. It’s not for us to know, nor does God have to explain himself.
Imagine being a parent and asking your child to sweep the floor, and they start to argue and ask why? Why should I? What’s the point? I don’t see why I should do it? I don’t see why it has to be done right now? Why not later? As a mother I can tell you this is SO irritating, and you might try to explain and give the rationale, but when it continues you usually end up saying “because I asked you to!” or “Because I said so!”. Sometimes “I don’t need to explain to you why I am asking I’m your mother/father therefore just get it done”. There could be some variant to this but the general idea is as a parent you know better than your child and they should respect you and not question you. So why would God (our Father in heaven) expect to explain and answer to me about anything? And why do I think he should? And why do I think I have a right to be angry? He made the universe and everything in it. He is the only one that sees the way things connect over time.
I believe that some things are allowed so that we correct our behaviours, and see his glory such as pride and arrogance. I believe some are for good that we cannot fathom or see, but that God sees. I believe my job as a Christian is to see what can be learned and rest in the knowledge that he is sovereign and that ALL things are brought together for good. Even when it seems it could never be so. I would rather continue to believe and love God so that he can comfort me in times of struggle, rather than be angry with him and have him correct me in some way.
Lessons for us are plain and simple and profound:
1. Believe with all your heart in the absolute sovereignty of God. Pray that God would give you that conviction.
2. Believe with all your heart that everything he does is right and good. Pray that God will give you that assurance.
3. Repent of all the times you have questioned God or found fault with him in the way he has treated you. Pray that God would humble you to see these murmurings as sinful.
4. Be satisfied with the holy will of God and do not murmur.