Sep 262013 5 Responses

A Subtle Difference in the Midst of Suffering

Some say, “don’t preach the book of Job.” (God Controls Our Darkest Days, No One Made Me Do It)

In a form of superstition, they think if you preach a book about tragedy, tragedy will happen.

Some say it as a joke, but behind every joke is a strand of truth. What one person says jokingly is only funny because others actually believe it.

If you trust The Secret, if you believe “we are what we think,” if you don’t believe in a powerful, sovereign God, but instead believe in a weak being who we can control and manipulate, then “don’t preach the book of Job.”

You don’t do Job because as soon as you do, sorrows come, tragedy strikes, and grief is certain. (See: Don’t Believe the Lie ‘If You Have Your Health’)

Some joke about it, but many believe it. And what a sad belief it is.

It’s true that when you study Job, sorrows will come.

They come, in part, because they always come. There is never a moment in which a family is without grief. For a church family, rarely does a week go by in which someone doesn’t die or get diagnosed or divorced. When we study the book of Job, bad things happen because bad things are always happening.

Yet, we can’t deny that when we study the book of Job some of those bad things feel as though they strike closer to home. And it’s at this moment that theology matters. It’s in these times in which we recognize the correlation between suffering and Job that all of life is determined by our perspective.

Two options are available:

Some see a correlation between our suffering and the book of Job and think, “We caused this.” Because we studied the book, we have jinxed ourselves into sorrow.

Yet there is a far better explanation. Instead of seeing life as something which our thoughts control, the Bible teaches there is a sovereign God whose plan cannot be thwarted. This sovereign, powerful God is also loving and compassionate. Is it possible that God in his sovereignty, knowing what is to come in our lives, has led us to the book of Job as an act of compassion—as a reminder we are not alone? Is it possible that before we experience the sorrow, God begins to prepare our hearts by showing us the truth of suffering and his sovereignty?

Notice the subtle difference. Having the same experiences and reading the same Bible, some people believe they are jinxing themselves into suffering while others see a loving God who is compassionately preparing them for what is to come.

This is the nature of faith—some see a compassionate God while others only see themselves.

So which do you believe?

Do you think you control the world through your thoughts or do you believe God sovereignly rules over his creation?

5 Responses to A Subtle Difference in the Midst of Suffering
  1. Don Reply

    I find it much easier to prove “if it happened He did it and if it is going to happen He’ll do it” than to say He or some source allowed it to happen. As a parent disciplines a child, so He disciplines His elect.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Don, how would you reply to Job 1 and 2 regarding this. Doesn’t that give good credence to “he allowed it?”

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