Job 6:11 says: “What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?”
Put yourself in this situation: you are a Christian, faithful and sincere in your efforts to serve God. You are a prosperous person with a good job; God has blessed you in many ways, both materially and spiritually; you and your spouse are generally good people with good children; you have been a faithful tither, and giver, and active in the Lord’s work; you are a kind and considerate person who tries to help other people any way you can. In general, you are a good example of the kind of person that God is well pleased with. Then suddenly without warning tragedy strikes and the worse possible things begin to happen to you: death of child, death of your spouse, flood, or other natural disaster, violent crime, disabled in auto accident, tragic fire. What would be your reaction to such a thing?
The Bible gives us many examples of men and women who were faithful servants, who walked by faith in God’s promises, and served Him diligently and yet, had bad things happen to them. Noah lost everything that he had, including all of his family with the exception of his three sons, their wives and his wife. David was persecuted by King Saul for many years. Elijah was hated by most of his own people. Moses spent 40 years in the desert trying to lead a people who hated him, and constantly complained. Naomi lost all of her family in a foreign land.
We have documented history of the horrible and tragic persecution which millions of our loved ones in the faith suffered from the time of the Lord’s ministry until, recent years. Whole families, whole churches, and sometimes whole Christian communities being wiped out because they refused to denounce the Christ and the truth. Many heinous tortures were invented to bring harm and suffering upon God’s people. These were good people who loved the Lord and many who loved the Lord’s church, and the doctrines of grace.
Even in our lifetime we can think of tragedies that have happened to good people.
In Wichita Falls TX, just a few years ago, nearly all of the membership of a Baptist church was wiped out by a giant tornado. A few years later, a church bus carrying young people was swept away in flood waters, and several kids were killed including a girl who fell from the Helicopter lifeline. Yes, bad things do happen to good people, but why?
It is common for people to think (though it is not true) that all bad things come from the devil, so if something bad happens the devil did it, and it is probably your own fault. There is either some secret sin in your life, or else your faith in God is weak. I once read the testimony of a Christian woman, who after having lost two sons in the past, stood by her third son dying from injuries received in an auto crash. As she waited and prayed a friend called to inquire of the boy’s condition. The brokenhearted mother replied softly, “He’s dying.” The inquiring friend who reminds me of Job’s three friends replied, “NO! Don’t say that. If you will have enough faith your son will live. If he dies you will have no one to blame but yourself!” It would have been easier on the mother had her so-called friend hit her over the head with, a large club, or pierced her heart with a lance.
I must tell you beloved, that I do not have all the answers, but I do have the word of God and know the God who has all the answers. In the account of Job’s affliction, no one had an answer as to why Job was being afflicted. There was much speculation, and conjecture, but no real answers. Perhaps all bad things do come from the devil, but this one thing I know, God controls all things. We shall continue this lesson next issue. E-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org