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The Disrupted Life: Fair or Unfair?

by Doug Smith

Job was a good man, yet he lost his children, his property, and his health. How was this justified when God Himself described Job as the finest of men: "a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil?" The Bible shows that God exposed Job to suffering and loss and proved that Job worshiped him out of faith rather than self-interest. It also shows that God delivered Job from his troubles. Perhaps God brings us the story of Job to convince us we can have the same faith.

Job's attitude of unconditional trust in God is not an easy one to adopt or maintain when life runs out of control. But that is the course Job chose when his life fell apart inexplicably. Job lost almost all that was precious to him, but declared, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes shall see and not another." (Job 19:27)

A person might reasonably ask, "why would anyone want to see a Redeemer who was permitting them and their family to suffer terrible affliction?" That's a fair question. I would answer, "Job looked forward to seeing God because he trusted God's intentions and His ability to give back more than He was taking away." Though Job couldn't see God's purpose in the affliction, what words could testify more strongly to a trust in God's goodness than Job's: "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him"?

Is this kind of trust out of date or foolish? Can we and should we trust God that way? Some modern people question all authority, including God. We frequently question God's existence, use His name to curse, and make jokes about people who profess to represent Him. But if we consider how God dealt with people in the events recorded in the Bible, and listen to our contemporaries who have experienced God's grace, we may conclude that trust in God is reasonable, right, and necessary. Many people will testify that God is more faithful to them than they are to God, their family or friends. If God is more faithful than we are, we should at least think more highly of Him than of ourselves.

Also, it is important to other people whether we do or do not trust God. A former intensive care nurse told me she was moved to consider the claim of Jesus Christ to be the savior when she saw how some people who trusted Christ died differently from people who lacked hope. At a minimum, trusting our cares to God prevents us from unwittingly unloading them on other people.

So, was God justified in allowing Job and his family to suffer? We can answer off the tops of our heads; we can ignore the question; or we can read the book of Job and see how God explains it. I recommend looking at the book of Job to see whether Job's story relates to the difficulties in our lives.

© Doug Smith 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

[Physicians' Disability Services, Inc.]
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Last Revised Tuesday, April 13, 2004, 5:42 PM EST

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