September 9, 2011
Where is God?
The Lord is my light and the one who saves me. So why should I fear anyone? The Lord protects my life. So why should I be afraid? Evil people may try to destroy my body. My enemies and those who hate me attack me, but they are overwhelmed and defeated. If an army surrounds me, I will not be afraid. If war breaks out, I will trust the Lord (Psalm 27:1-3, NCV).
Friend to Friend
I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the phone rang and my husband said, “Honey, you need to turn on the television - right now.” It was the middle of the day and I was busy cleaning house, doing laundry and trying to cram in an hour of study time, but the sadness and dread in my husband’s voice stopped me in my tracks. Something was very wrong. Still, I was totally unprepared for the horrific scene that played out in vivid reality on the television screen before me. I stared in shock at the surreal images of two airplanes flying into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Both towers collapsed - killing thousands of innocent people – and forever changing life as we know it.
Why bad things happen to good people is a question we have been asking since time began. I have been a Christ follower for many years. I am a Christian author and speaker and the wife of a pastor. Over the years, God has brought me out of more pits than I can count and I have literally attended church since the day I was born. My faith in God should be unwavering and I should never doubt or question Him or His plan. But sometimes I do.
You may be offended at my next statement, but if I am brutally honest, my faulty human mind and sin-tainted heart can almost - almost come to grips with such horrendous circumstances happening to someone who is evil and has turned their back on God. Bad things should happen to bad people and good things should happen to good people. Sounds logical and fair - right?
You and I both know that life is not fair and that our human logic is a shallow substitute for God's sovereignty. We are broken people living in a broken world. Bad things do happen to good people while those who mock God seem to prosper, and it's been that way for a long time. Take Job for example.
Job 1:8-12 "The LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’”
Don’t miss the important fact that God not only allowed Satan to test Job, but dictated how Satan could test him. Job went from having vast wealth to great poverty, losing everything he and his wife had, including their ten children. Job's wife urged her husband to turn away from and curse God and to forsake the very faith that had blessed her and Job for so long - but Job stood firm.
Job 1:20-21 "Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’"
Job was an extraordinary man, husband, father and leader who served God faithfully. His faithfulness to God in prosperity was a powerful testimony, but His faithfulness to God in the face of death, pain and despair was even more powerful. Did Job doubt and question God? Absolutely! Did Job openly and honestly grieve his loss and weep in his pain? Yes, but he remained faithful to God, even when he did not understand why God would let him endure such suffering and even when his heart and body was broken. God was pleased with Job and rewarded him for his faithfulness.
Job 42:11 "The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."
Storms come in all shapes and sizes. The lab report comes back malignant. The school calls, demanding that you pick up your child who has just been expelled. Your husband informs you that he no longer wants to be married to you. Your boss calls you into his office to let you know that you are being fired. Financial disaster seems certain while dependable friends seem to vanish. Yes, storms will come and bad things will happen – even to fully devoted followers of God. Where is God when the winds pick up and the churning waters pummel your rocking boat? God is where He has always been and always will be - in the midst of every stormy circumstance. Run into His waiting arms when you are afraid. Trust Him – even though you may not understand what is happening in your life. He is with you.
Father, we come to You today, celebrating the freedom that so many have given their lives to protect. I pray that we would remember and cherish their sacrifice. Lord, I am so sorry for doubting You when life is hard. Forgive me for questioning Your plan when it seems to make no sense. I want to be a woman of faith who trusts You no matter what happens. Help me cultivate the kind of faith Job had and strengthen me for every trial ahead. Take my heart and mind captive and make them Yours. Today, I choose faith over fear and trust over doubt.
In Jesus' name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Think back to a time when God allowed something to happen that you simply could not understand. His plan seemed illogical and undoable. You asked, "Why did this happen to me?"
Now look at where you are now. What good things have come out of that painful experience? What lessons did you learn from that difficult time? How have those lessons influenced your life today?
Read Isaiah 45:3. How does this powerful verse relate to the difficult times you are facing now or have faced in the past?
Read and memorize Psalm 40:1-3. God gave me that promise in the darkest days of my life and they are even more precious in the light.
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