"Does it please you to oppress me, spurn the words of your hands, while you smile on the plans of the wicked?" Job 10:3 NIV
Why do bad things happen to good people? Hmmm, that's the million dollar question. Often times, when trouble happens to decent people and foul people are as they say in 2018 "living their best life" we start asking this very question.
The book of Job is a perfect story to highlight possible answers to this question. My initial plan was to write a piece on restoration, but the Holy Spirit gave me a new revelation on the significance of Job's story.
Job was seen as a righteous servant of God who was blessed with a beautiful family and wealth. Nevertheless, the enemy came to disrupt this with God's permission. Job lost everything he had from his children, his wealth, and to his health. Also, he was condemned by his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.
The story is full of many points that we must apply to our lives. God teaches us to prepare for trials. "One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan also came with them" Job 1:6 NIV. The significance of this is we must understand when we decide to walk with God, spiritual warfare will intensify!
Once we draw a line in the sand against Satan, we are saying we will no longer serve you, because one can not serve two masters. Be prepared for a battle! As followers of Christ, we can not be willfully ignorant to believe that doing God's will will not cost us anything. It cost Jesus his life to save ours, so why do we think we can have an intimate relationship with our God without surrendering ourselves completely.
We must be prepared for the enemy to try to break our faith, by attacking our identity in Christ. Satan stated, "Does Job fear God for nothing. Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?" Job 1: 9-10 NIV.
According to Satan, Job only worships and serves the Lord, because of his blessings. Although Job did not curse God, he did start speaking things with no knowledge of who God is and of himself. How often does this very thing happen? We are shouting Hallelujahs, Amen, and we receive it when great things are happening, but as soon as trouble comes we start questioning God. I know I have done it!
And from my experience working with the mental health, I've witnessed people even start questioning their existence. During Job's conversation with his friends, he wishes he was never born. "May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said a boy is conceived!" Job 3:3 NIV. Satan attacks our identity by placing self-doubt, fear, anxiety, and hopelessness in our thoughts. Depression is the work of the enemy.
Saints we must be secure in who we are in Christ and yearn to understand who God is, because the enemy will use our insecurities to not only break our faith, but delay our purpose that has already been written before we were born.
I spoke earlier about surrendering ourselves completely to God. There are people in our lives that are not aligned with God's vision for us. Many times, God will remove seeds that are not fruitful for our purpose.
I have experienced this when I started rediscovering my identity in Christ. Some friendships became strained and had to be cut. I have learned not everyone can go with you where God is leading you.
Satan can use people close to us to break our faith. In Job's case, his wife instructed him to curse God and die. Interesting part is that was the last time we read Job's wife speak. We must be careful who we seek counsel from, which leads me to the next point.
Not all the advice we receive is Godly advice. Job's friends came to see him, but instead of comforting him, they condemned him. They believed Job was hiding a great sin, therefore, he was being punished for it. They never actually got to the root of Job's problem and was not helpful.
His friends did not understand who God is. "As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it. At the breath of God they perish; at the blast of his anger they are no more" Job 4:8-9 NIV. God is our redeemer and Eliphaz did not understand this.
Sometimes trials happen based on our disobedience that leads us to make poor choices. Maybe we were instructed not to enter certain relationships or friendships, but yet we did it anyway. Maybe we were warned not to invest our money in certain businesses or projects, but yet we did it anyway.
Nevertheless, the source of Job's trials was not disobedience, but it was pride. Job was self-righteous and instead of justifying God, he justified himself. "Let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless" Job 31:6 NIV. Job spoke as if he was free of sin, but yet God still found fault in him.
From Chapters 29-31, Job had the case of eye-itis, term was coined by Dr. Vernon McGhee. He boasted about his good works and believed God turned on him. He did not understand that his troubles were permitted to humble him.
God spoke to Job and asked him questions about creation that Job had no knowledge of to show him his ignorance. God asked Job "Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at all who are proud and bring them low. Look at all who are proud and humble them" Job 40: 11-12 NIV. Of course Job could not do any of those things, only God can.
After God spoke to Job, he started to see God for who he is. "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can thwarted" Job 42:2 NIV. He started seeing himself for who he is, "My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes" Job 42: 5-6 NIV.
Pride can come in many forms. For some it's unforgiveness, unwillingness to acknowledge their faults, arrogance, or not wanting to seek counsel. We all have suffered from pride at some point.
I thought I could do things on my own and do life without people. God permitted things in my life to humble me. I had to surrend my life to him and lean only to him for understanding. God wants us to come into his presence with a humble heart.
"Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor" Proverbs 29:23 NIV. When Nathan the prophet came to David after he committed adultery with Bathsheba, David humbled himself before the Lord. David understood that he was a sinner and acknowledged it. He did not allow pride to stop him from repentance and justifying God versus himself.
So why do bad things happen to good people? "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" Romans 8:28 NIV. There is always a blessing or a lesson behind every trial. When God permits something, he intends to use it.
What trials have you gone through or still going through? What did you learn?
Thank you Lord for your mercy and grace. I bring my broken spirit; my broken and contrite heart to you. I know in my brokenness, I am renewed. Lord I surrend myself to you and will lean only to you for understanding. I will praise you and continue to give you all the glory. In Jesus name!