Saturday, March 18, 2017

When Bad Things Happen To Good People: A Study Of The Book Of Job. Day 14, Job Answers Bildad, Part Three

Job's answer to Bildad is really a complaint to God. Bildad scolded Job for his complaints and for being angry with God, but Job begins today's passage by pointing out that Bildad has seen nothing yet. He thinks Job has been complaining too much? Well, Job is nowhere near finished, so he says, "I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul." (Job 10:1)

Have you ever been so distraught that you said you wished you were dead? Job is at that point. He's not threatening to take his own life but is expressing the desire that God would take him on home. He doesn't want to keep waking up morning after morning with the same old problems and the same overwhelming grief. There are people all over the world today who would understand exactly what Job is going through. Sometimes in the news we hear of a house fire in which all the children perished because no one could get to them in time. Or sometimes a plane crashes and a man loses his wife and children who were on their way to visit grandparents. Or a school bus crashes, or a train derails, or an earthquake comes, or a flood rushes in, or a volcano erupts, or a contagious and deadly disease attacks. There are so many tragedies in this fallen world in which a person loses some or all of their family. These people can easily understand how Job feels when he says he doesn't want to live anymore. They would never dare to judge his feelings because they have walked in his shoes. And we dare not judge him either, even if we haven't walked in his shoes, because unless we have we can't possibly imagine such grief.

"I say to God: Do not declare me guilty, but tell me what charges You have against me." (Job 10:2) Does a human judge condemn a man without first reading the charges against him? Does a human judge not give a man a chance to defend himself? Job asks a fair hearing of the holy Judge. He says, "Lord, if I have sinned in some way I'm not aware of, tell me what I've done. Don't condemn me without letting me know where I went wrong. What laws did I break? What did I do to cause this suffering?"

Job struggles to understand God's motives in his suffering. "Does it please You to oppress me, to spurn the work of Your hands, while You smile on the plans of the wicked?" (Job 10:3) The gods of pagan nations were thought to be just like humans, except with supernatural powers. Their followers believed they possessed the same faults as mankind. It was thought they were amused and enthralled with the trials of humans and that they watched their daily struggles in the same way a person in modern times might watch a soap opera or reality show. Job is having doubts about God's character. He wonders, "Could my God be like the gods of the heathens? Does He enjoy setting events in motion and then watching how we react?"

"Do You have eyes of flesh? Do You see as a mortal sees? Are Your days like those of a mortal or Your years like that of a strong man, that You must search out my faults and probe after my sin---though You know that I am not guilty and that no one can rescue me from Your hand?" (Job 10:4-7) Job's friends have disappointed him, but after all they are only human. He is hurt but maybe not very surprised that they suspect him of secret sins. But he expected more of God. He asks, "Are You like these men who sit here accusing me? Do You see me the way they see me? I thought You could see all the way into my heart. You know I've been faithful to you. You know I repent as soon as I realize I've made a mistake. You know I've not been leading some kind of double life with hidden sins."

"Your hands shaped me and made me. Will You now turn and destroy me?" (Job 10:8) Job cries out, "Can You destroy the work of Your hands? You knew me before I ever existed. You fashioned me with Your own hands. How can You now turn against me?" David, a man who endured much wrongful persecution from the wicked King Saul, also cried out to God, "Do not abandon the works of Your hands." (Psalm 138:8) Both these men recognized that God creates each life for a purpose. They both also believed in the intrinsic goodness of God. Therefore, they cannot believe God would create a life for the sole purpose of destroying it. Every life, no matter how short, matters to God. Whether a child is born only to live a few minutes, or whether a person endures to a ripe old age, that life is precious and has meaning. Job doesn't fear death; he even welcomes it at this point. His fear is that he will die without ever knowing the reason for his suffering. His life up til now has counted for something. He's been a man of faith, a godly example to everyone around him, a source of encouragement to his friends and family. He has shared his testimony and the word of the Lord, quite likely leading unbelievers to the faith. But what is he to do with his current circumstances? How can he make them mean something? How can he grow as a believer and lend help to others if he can't understand why his trials have come? He's afraid he will leave the earth before he can make anything good out of his tragedy.

I'm reminded of a story my pastor told of someone who was praying for a loved one stricken with cancer. Of course this person prayed for healing for their loved one, as we all would, and this is what we should do because God is able to heal. But then the person said to God in prayer, "Lord, if You won't make this better, at least make it count." Sometimes God doesn't take away our problem no matter how much we pray about it. There are times He reaches down and scoops us up out of the path of tragedy and then there are other times He allows us to endure it. But just think what a double tragedy it would be if we gained nothing from it. What if we didn't allow God to "work all things together for good"? (Romans 8:28) What if we learned nothing, went backwards in our faith, or made no godly impact on those around us by the way we handle our problems? God doesn't always make our situation better, but what if we didn't make it count? I think that would be the worst tragedy of all

No comments:

Post a Comment