The Giver, The Taker
I have felt such a kinship with the story of Job these past several months. I’ve always been baffled at the immense loss that he endured: the death of his children, the loss of his livestock and buildings and then even the failing of his own body.
And yet, in all that we’re told that Job did not sin and blame God. Can I just admit up front that I know that wouldn’t be my response?
It’s so easy to accept blessings from Gods hands. It’s much harder to accept suffering.
I used to love quoting verses about God’s promises. A favorite of mine has always been Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
I used to think this meant that God would only allow good things to happen in my life. When it comes down to it, my simplistic interpretation liked to think of my Heavenly Father as some cosmic genie, rather than an all-powerful God.
The truth is, sometimes God allows pain to come in to our lives to uncover what we’re truly made of. When Satan approached God in the book of Job, he claimed that Job only served God because of the blessings. That if God allowed Satan to take away the blessings, Job would no longer serve Him.
And isn’t that true sometimes? Pain and suffering can reveal whether we’re truly in love with the Giver, or simply enamored by the gift.
As difficult as it is to hear, pain is inevitably going to be a part of each of our stories. We live in a broken, fallen world and none of us are immune to its effects.
At the end of the story of Job, he isn’t given a deep epiphany into how influential his story would be for the next thousands of years. He isn’t told how his life will be restored or what God has planned through it all.
Instead, God simply confronted him with questions. Heavy questions that Job could not answer.
“Where were you when I made the oceans? Where were you when I decided how far the sea would go or when the moon would rise?”
After a torrent of these weighty questions that no human could claim to comprehend, Job is left speechless. “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer thee? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.”
As much as I try to understand God and His ways, I cannot. He simply goes beyond my finite comprehension. And really, if I could understand everything there was to know about God, would He actually be that big of a God?
Maybe you are going through your own situation that doesn’t make sense. Perhaps the pain in your life seems to stand at odds with the idea that God is good.
But can I tell you something amazing? We have a God who CAN work it all out for good. He can take a man sold into slavery and imprisoned for ten years and raise him up to second in command over an entire nation. He can use a lowly orphan girl to become queen and save His people. He can turn a blood-thirsty murderer into one of the most influential writers and leaders of the early church.
And He can work out an amazing story in your life, too.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope, and a future.”
Lord, help me to love you in both the hills and the valleys. Help me to leave all the questions in your hands, standing on the truth that You are good, You are All-Powerful, and You are still for me.
Help me to trust you when you are the Taker, just as when you are the Giver.