“Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake” (Job 6:29 NIV).
I slammed my Bible shut. After spending a month with Job’s friends I couldn’t take one more sentence of their arrogant presumptions about Job and God. “I can’t wait for you to speak,” I complained out loud to God.
God in his infinite wisdom answered back, “Oh really?” So today, as I listened to the first words God speaks to Job and his friends, I hear him say, “How often do you lean on your own understanding, trying to explain why I allow suffering in your life? How often do you presume to know my ways and what I will or will not do in the lives of your children?” His rebuke was not harsh, but it cut through my own self-righteous judgment of Job’s friends and placed me squarely in the storm of his answers to Job.
Reading through Job, you and I have the benefit of Chapter 1. We know God calls him, ” blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” God makes it clear, Job does not deserve what is happening to him. Take the first chapter out and we are just as blindsided as Job when his favored life turns hard.
I would have asked:
- Is God punishing Job?
- Has God withdrawn his love?
- Is it a sin to be wealthy?
- Is God allowing Job to suffer to help others?
Too often I presume to know why God allows suffering in our lives rather than knowing he is good and that I am part of God’s larger story for mankind.
I pray that one day I can say, Satan meant Jonathan’s death for evil, but oh Lord you meant it for the salvation of many. All we suffer has a greater purpose, just like Jesus’ death on the cross. I choose to praise you Lord.
You created the heavens, earth and all that resides in it. I really don’t have the first clue of your purposes. But I do know you are good. I praise you for creating my life, giving me breath. I praise you for the first child placed in my arms and how precious each day was of being a mother to him. I praise you for your unmerited favor. Again and again, you extend grace to me. You gave me a husband who not only committed his life to love me but knelt down and said vows to the seven-year-old son who looked up him with eager and nervous expectation. You blessed me with Daniel and Natalie.
Lord, you gave me your passion and creative spirit. I am in awe of scripture, you don’t leave me guessing. I have the beginning, middle, and end of your story. I know all I experience is temporary. Leave your mark on the world through me. Today I choose to say, “You give and take away, but still, I will praise your name.” Amen
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