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When it's Hard to Trust God

posted Sep 29, 2014, 7:45 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Sep 29, 2014, 7:45 PM ]
August 24, 2014
Key Passage: Job 1:1-2:1

“When it’s Hard to Trust God”

We all know life can change in the blink of an eye, but what a stark reminder we’ve seen this weekend as a young lady lost her life, and four high school students’ lives will never be the same.  I can’t even imagine the heartbreak / heartache these parents are going through!  However, here’s the sobering reality: every single one of us will suffer a brutal calamity sooner or later.  It’ll seem underserved and meaningless – coming out of nowhere and baffling our sense of justice.  That’s why Job and his story are so relevant – his suffering comes out of left field and has no connection to his love and obedience to God.
For many of us, avoiding pain becomes our chief occupation in life. Unfortunately, we don’t realize that avoidance of difficulty only produces more pain in the long run.  It’s critical that we begin to understand the Bible’s message that difficulty and joy are not exclusive entities – they’re actually mutual friends.  The book of Job exists not to explain suffering – but to teach us to love and worship God in spite of it.  

***** It’s important to note that the entire book of Job is used by God to dispel the notion of retribution – a belief that most of us hold: that God blesses the good and punishes the bad.  God’s relationship with mankind does not rest on retribution, but on grace.  True, God does bless those who obey and trust Him and He curses those who do not – but be careful not to fall into the trap of concluding that if we trust and obey God He owes us a blessing. “If I can obligate God to bless me for being good, then God owes me something.”   Every character in the book of Job – Job himself, his three friends, even Satan – assumed that God governed mankind on the basis of retribution.  God is God and He will do what He will do.  “My ways are not your ways.”  Satan has consistently failed to appreciate God’s grace.  Instead of being grateful for his own blessings, he’s been in rebellion to obtain more than God gave him.  Moreover, he’s led people to do the same thing.  Never forget … God is not fair – he’s just.  If you understand this fact, you understand life – and vice-versa ******

Job 1:1 – 2:10 3 Distinct Theological Truths

1.  Satan’s aim is to destroy our joy in God – He uses two weapons: pleasure and pain.  Satan uses pleasure to make us feel God is unnecessary.  He uses pain to make us think God is powerless / hostile.  His aim is to destroy our joy in God and to replace the treasure of God with earthly treasures of wealth or family or health.

2.  God aims to magnify his worth in the lives of his people – The goal of God in creation and redemption is to preserve and display the infinite worth of his glory.  The way he does this is by redeeming a people who love him and cling to him and cherish him above all earthly treasures and pleasures.  The mirror he has chosen for the reflection of his worth is the indestructible joy of his people.

3.  God grants Satan limited power to cause pain – see Job 1:12 and 2:6.  God sets the limits of Satan’s power to cause pain.  Our God is not frustrated by the power and subtlety of Satan – and Satan can’t make a move without the permission of God almighty.  He may be a lion (1 Peter 5:8), but he’s a lion on a leash.  And God reins him in or gives him slack according to God’s own sovereign purposes.

Q: Is it ok to get mad at God and question his justice?  How should we go about it?
Q: Why is it so hard to love God and worship Him in the midst of suffering?

Bottom Line: It’s a very sobering thing to realize that the temptations that come into our lives are aimed at getting us to curse God to his face – to tell him that he’s wrong, that he doesn’t keep his promises, that he’s not the kind of God we’ve been told he is.  That’s Satan’s aim – to get you to question, and ultimately, curse God. If we can sit here in any degree of peace and enjoyment, it’s because the hand of God has been like a hedge around us, protecting us and giving us great and wonderful things.  C.S. Lewis once remarked when asked the question, “Why should the righteous suffer?”  “Why not?” he replied; “they’re the only ones that can handle it.”  When your world falls apart, and it will, my hope is you’ll remember Job – and you’ll find it in your spirit to praise God despite your circumstances.