Weather has been a doozy here on the East Coast for a week or so, until this morning when it finally cooled off due to scattered rain last night. Temperatures without factoring the heat index of around 103 degrees (F in case anyone reads this that may be thinking temp in Celsius…). At least in my neighborhood it is so wooded that usually it’s about 5-10 degrees cooler, but still quite hot. High humidity as well, so with the heat index it’s just insane. I’ve taken the heat before and managed, but man it was hot. And I just haven’t gotten around to getting my car’s A/C fixed, so it’s really noticeable when driving. I think it’s mid 90s today though … much better.
NOTE: Bear with me, I’m going to be a little more long-winded for this one!
I’ve just started reading the book of Job, and here’s this guy who all his livestock stolen, farmhands and servants killed, and sons and daughters dead from a storm knocking down a house. And you thought the heat was unbearable huh? So what does this guy Job say?
I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be stripped of everything when I die.
The Lord gave me everything I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!
That’s quite a low spot, and he doesn’t blame God? Hmm. Now one could take this two ways, and think as someone who believes in a God and someone that doesn’t, but I’m not going to consider the second – just as someone who believes in a God. It seems really really easy and definitely expected to praise God when we’re at a high in life – you know, blessed with a house, blessed with kids, a wife, a job, fun times, friends, family, etc. Pretty much 99% of those who may come across this post – you’re blessed in numerous ways (but maybe not all). And I’m betting in your prayers that you thank God for at least some of these blessings.
But let’s say you’re wife leaves you, something unexpected happens and a child dies, you get in a car wreck and become disabled. What says you then? I have no room to even guess what that may be like. I have family in dire straits and very hard times that I talk to frequently, but I’m quick to point out I have no clue what it must be like. Will you praise God?
Consider this verse:
But Job replied, “You talk like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.
Is God good? Well duh of course – I sure wouldn’t believe in my God if he wasn’t good! But the question is – why do we have bad things happen? Personally I don’t really have much of a clue on this topic, but I do happen to know a guy and we had a pretty lengthy conversation over it, which just so happens to be over this topic. Here are my ‘notes’ if you will (feel in any blanks please Tim!):
- We sometimes cause pain on ourselves.
- sometimes God uses pain/illness to serve a purpose.
- sometimes God uses pain/illness to bring Him glory.
This person mentioned a book by C.S. Lewis “The problem of Pain” as something to consider if you haven’t read it. He talked about some scripture from Job and Ezekiel that I can’t fully recall, but now that I am looking through Job, I see a section in my Bible (not part of scripture – just the notes below) titled “When we suffer” with 6 questions to ask ourselves when we suffer, and what to do if the answer is yes:
Q: am I being punished by God for sin?
A: confess known sin
Q: is Satan attacking me as I try to survive as a Christian?
A: call on God for strength
Q: am I being prepared for a special service, learning to be compassionate to those who suffer?
A: accept help from the body of believers; trust God to work his purpose through you
Q: is my suffering a result of natural consequences for which I am not directly responsible?
A: recognize that in a sinful world, both good and evil people will suffer; but the good person has a promise from God that his/her suffering will one day come to an end.
Q: is my suffering due to some unknown reason?
A: don’t draw inward from the pain; proclaim your faith in God, know that he cares and wait patiently for his aid.
What I find interesting is that a lot of times when I’ve been at a low point in my life, I’m totally thinking why God? Why me? What did I do? But when I’m down visiting and maybe sharing some stuff with the homeless, they will be quick to praise God. Might be living by the river, or in an abandoned home, or sleeping in a park, but they praise God. Don’t get me wrong – not everyone I’ve met does; many feel they have no hope. But some really are an inspiration with their faith in their God.
From this somewhat-related post – Joyful Even On a Crappy Day:
What is it that you are going through that you have seen no way to be joyful through? Remember that as Jesus carried the cross He counted it all as joy to do the will of His Father. I don’t think any of us has ever literally carried the weight of the world on our shoulders as He did, nor will we ever. Shouldn’t we be able to be joyful regardless of what we are going through?
What’s funny is that when I was a kid I lived in the DFW metroplex in Texas, and had weather like this all summer long – humidity and everything. It didn’t bother me that much. And like the weather, it seems kids have the ability to have faith in things unseen. I guess that’s why we need to become like little children, huh?