Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Bad" things—from whose perspective?

When "bad" things happen,
we in our limited understanding
can't imagine why a God of mercy and grace
would allow such a thing. 

In my devotions, I'm studying the Book of Job. Job 4 and 5 cover Eliphaz's advice to Job. If you just read Eliphaz's words on their own, they seem to make perfect sense. In Job 4:1-4, Eliphaz describes what others thought of Job. I found this part interesting since it gives us a glimpse of Job from the human stand point—before Job lost his wealth, family, and health. (In Job 1:8 we read God's view of Job: "There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”) Eliphaz described Job as a teacher and encourager. Job provided hope and guidance to others. (Personally, I think teaching and encouraging should be a natural outcome of fearing God.)

However, after Job 1:4, Eliphaz begins to offer "advice" based on his opinions rather than based on God and God's character. Eliphaz admonishes Job—Job can "dish out advise and encouragement to others, but when Job is in a situation, Job can't deal with it". Then Eliphaz continues to share how only sinners and fools would have such calamity in their lives.

In Job 5, Eliphaz shares his "observations of life". The only problem with basing our faith on observations is—personal observations are not always accurate! For we see things through our human eyes, experiences, and understanding—which are all limited—we are after all human! How can a mere human understand the workings of an unlimited and all-knowing God? This is where we need to take a step back and allow God to work, trusting Him and acknowledging that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always designed to accomplish His purpose.

I can't say that I've endured what Job had to endure. But I have had to deal with pain—both physical (chronic pain and headaches) and emotional (the death of my sister). I've had many people tell me over the past 10 years, that God won't heal me because I have sin in my life—exactly what Eliphaz was telling Job. Yes, I do sin. However, because of God's grace and mercy, He forgives my sins (1 John 1:9).

There are times, like in Job's situation, that God allows "bad things" in our lives to accomplish His purpose—bringing glory to Himself. Just as in Job's situation. God had a much bigger plan in mind—one Job didn't know about. Yet, Job continued to trust God.
Job knew that no matter what happened to him personally, God is worthy of praise and honor. We don't choose to praise and worship God based on our circumstances, rather it's based on Who God is. And God does not change. 

If I want to create a positive day, I have to look beyond my limited human understanding and trust God to accomplish His purpose. Knowing that God is at work, is the most comforting and positive concept which I can comprehend. 

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