Saturday, March 28, 2009

Job still has somethin' to say...

Job 24 - "But if Judgment Day isn't hidden from the Almighty, why are we kept in the dark? There are people out there getting by with murder—stealing and lying and cheating. They rip off the poor and exploit the unfortunate,Push the helpless into the ditch, bully the weak so that they fear for their lives. The poor, like stray dogs and cats, scavenge for food in back alleys. They sort through the garbage of the rich, eke out survival on handouts.Homeless, they shiver through cold nights on the street; they've no place to lay their heads. Exposed to the weather, wet and frozen, they huddle in makeshift shelters. Nursing mothers have their babies snatched from them; the infants of the poor are kidnapped and sold.They go about patched and threadbare; even the hard workers go hungry. No matter how backbreaking their labor, they can never make ends meet. People are dying right and left, groaning in torment. The wretched cry out for help and God does nothing, acts like nothing's wrong! Then there are those who avoid light at all costs, who scorn the light-filled path. When the sun goes down, the murderer gets up—kills the poor and robs the defenseless. Sexual predators can't wait for nightfall, thinking, 'No one can see us now.' Burglars do their work at night, but keep well out of sight through the day. They want nothing to do with light. Deep darkness is morning for that bunch; they make the terrors of darkness their companions in crime. They are scraps of wood floating on the water— useless, cursed junk, good for nothing. As surely as snow melts under the hot, summer sun, sinners disappear in the grave. The womb has forgotten them, worms have relished them— nothing that is evil lasts. Unscrupulous, they prey on those less fortunate. However much they strut and flex their muscles, there's nothing to them. They're hollow. They may have an illusion of security, but God has his eye on them. They may get their brief successes, but then it's over, nothing to show for it. Like yesterday's newspaper, they're used to wrap up the garbage. You're free to try to prove me a liar, but you won't be able to do it."

To deny that suffering of all kinds has not only a legitimate but a central place in Christianity is to deny the gospel. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," teaches Paul (Acts 14:22) Good men or women must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed.

Here Job has told me that he's unable to justify the permissions of God, but he's still trusting Him. Where is God? Why is He permitting this to happen?

Practice this with me. Look in a mirror...shrug your shoulders...repeat after me..."I DON'T KNOW."

Yes, it seems like those who do wrong get away with it. Those who take advantage of others get away with that. Unexplainable suffering falls into the same category.

There are plenty of events in our lifetime that the Lord could have stopped, but He didn't. This isn't just about the Jewish Holocaust, the wrongs of the Crusade Era, the priests in the Roman Catholic Church who have molested young boys. "I can't justify the permissions of God, but I trust Him." Can I say that? That's a major step especially when you are the one who has lost a child.

Even though God is elusive and mysterious, strange and silent, invisible and seemingly passive, He is trustworthy.
  1. Resist the temptation to explain everything. God knows.
  2. Focus on the future benefits, not the present pain. God leads.
  3. Embrace the sovereignty of the Almighty. God controls.

We can't piece it all together if we tried to. There are times when I'm not able to understand it, and there are times when I won't like it. But, as we're learning from Job, He's not going to ask our permission. And so? We trust God.

"But if you're real, I found myself crying silently to Him, they why? Why did you let these bad things happen to me? Why all the death and loss?

This time the answer came to me.

When those horrible things took place, My heart broke with you. I wept for you as strongly as you weep now."

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