I don’t have a Learning the Hard Way story this week, so I decided to post this:
Job has always been one of my favorite books in the Bible. It was especially meaningful to me during the trials of teenage life.
I’ll summarize his story: Job was a righteous man who lost everything—his possessions, his children, and even his health. In ancient times, people believed suffering was always the result of one’s sin (some still do). Job’s own friends believed this and tried to convince him he was being punished by God. The Book of Job sets the record straight—sometimes good people suffer through no fault of their own. God allows this and we don’t always understand why.
I’m afraid that we still haven’t fully learned from Job.
Here’s what I mean: when it comes to relationship advice, are we just like Job’s friends? Let’s say someone is heartbroken—should we automatically tell him/her that it happened because he/she wasn’t in God’s will? Don’t breakups, disappointments, and heartaches just happen sometimes?
Yes, they do. Why? For the same reason that cancer, car accidents, and typhoons happen—we don’t live in a perfect world. There are two important truths to remember in these cases:
1) Obeying God’s commands kept it from hurting much worse. Breakups, for example, are much less painful if sexual intimacy is not a factor.
2) No matter what, we can trust God.
I want to be a voice of gentle correction for those who make foolish decisions. But I don’t assume that every breakup or broken heart is a consequence of sin. I hope you don’t either.
Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said,
“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”
In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.
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