Point blank, those of us who follow Jesus are often ask very tough questions. Here's the toughest:
Why does God allow suffering?
The answer doesn't come from a teleprompter or class notes.
Nobody is exempt from trouble. Most of the heroes of the Bible faced severe hardship. Joseph spent 13 years in prison. David was chased like an outlaw. Daniel was put in a lion's den. Paul was beaten to a pulp. Jesus died from capital punishment.
And then there's Job. Our reading through the Bible has brought us to this classic on suffering. But it doesn't give us the answers we seek.
Job thought God was unfair. Job's friends thought punishment was the result of some secret sin. Job's wife wife said just chuck it and die.
We try to find a reason for suffering. An acquaintance has a middle aged son recently diagnosed with brain cancer. He is a dad and successful business man. "Why has God singled us out for this? We don't deserve this."
On it goes. If you live long enough it is just a matter of time before trouble finds its way to your door in some form. No one is exempt.
I think God put the book of Job in the Bible not so we could find the reason for suffering but so we could learn how to deal with it. The reasons are too big for us. The coping methods are not.
How did you deal with the shock of the 9/11 attacks? How did you handle the crash of flight 3407?
At first those issues seem like a blur. You wondered if you could take another breath. Somehow, someway, you made it through the first day, then the next. It was shaky. The stress was enormous. But now looking back you see things more clearly. What got you through?
Job lost everything. His friends blamed him. God was silent. Complaining brought no relief. His health failed. He longed for the good old days.
Somewhere, deep within, the mustard seed of faith would not let him give up. He whispered, "I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand on the earth and I will see God....with my own eyes....I and not another." What do you know for sure? What is the bedrock of your life? Wealth, property and a good reputation were no help to Job on his worst day.
Why does bad stuff happen? The book of Job doesn't give an answer. It does show us the way to deal. Hold on to God tightly. He can handle your complaints. Trust him. Wait on him. He is God and you are not.
He will be with you during chemo treatments. He will go with you to the funeral home. He will be present when you get that pink slip. He won't let go of you when your true love finds someone else. He hates to see his beloved people suffer under the oppression of the evil one and one day soon he will fix it........but not yet.
On your worst day he is worthy of your trust.......and when you have nothing left, he will pick you up and carry you.
I'm holding on and hope you'll join me.
Be strong and courageous, MB