Sometimes I don't understand why things happen. I can't give an answer to the age-old question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" For some reason, I fall for the belief that if I do the right thing, a good outcome is guaranteed. Oftentimes along life's journey, I forget my purpose and begin to live as if life was given to me for my happiness and personal fulfillment. Time for a reality check!
Although I know that life has its fair share of ups and downs, why is it so difficult to embrace the 'downs?' The Bible is full of examples of men and women who experienced unexplained hardships. Remember Job? He's described as a "perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil," (Job 1:8; KJV). Very impressive when you consider it was the Lord who described Job this way!
Job had everything going for him. He had a wonderful family, was wildly wealthy, and was well respected in his community. Job loved God and made constant intercession for his children. Yet one day, everything changed. In a matter of hours, Job lost his sons and daughters, his cattle and livestock, and even his health. Job lost it all. Why?
The book of Job lets me in on some things that weren't revealed to Job. The Lord allowed Satan to wreck havoc in Job's life. Tough to understand. Job was a prime servant of the Lord, yet the Lord allowed him to be severely tested.
When faced with the tragic news that his children had been killed and his livestock destroyed, Job's response is nothing short of astounding, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord," (Job 1:21). What faith! But the enemy wasn't willing to give in to defeat so easily. If Job wouldn't curse God as a result of losing everything, surely he would break if he lost his health.
Once again, for reasons known only to God, He allowed Satan to afflict Job with painful boils from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Job's wife was of little comfort. She couldn't get beyond the difficult question: Why? Her advice to her husband, "...curse God, and die," (Job 2:9b). But Job saw things from a different perspective, and answered his wife with words indicative of his faith, "...What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2:10b).
It 's not too challenging to be positive for a day, but when trials stretch on day after day with no end in sight, faith is stretched to the limit. Job never cursed God, yet his outlook became bleak. He wished he had never been born, and he wanted answers. Why had tragedy struck his life? Why was God punishing him?
After a long time of silence, God DID speak to Job - but not with the answers Job expected. God's response was to remind Job that He created the world and everything in it, and His ways are far above man's ways. As Creator, God's purpose for His creation is to serve and honor Him, not for man to be focused on getting through life unscathed. Job realized the greatness of God, "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee...Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes," (Job 42:2,6). And God blessed Job, "So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning..." (Job 42:12a).
Knowing why something happened is not nearly as important as realizing that no matter how I feel, nothing - no trial, no tragedy - can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Life will continue to be peppered with ups and downs. I can take what comes, knowing that I serve a God who loves me!
Do you get tripped up when you don't understand why something happened? Will you trust God today and exercise faith in His control of your future?