Where is God when it hurts?

Job 2:10 NKJV

If you could ask God one question and be guaranteed an answer, what would you ask? When pollster George Barna asked this question in a national survey, the primary response was: “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” The short answer is: Christ’s first coming was to save us from the penalty of our sin; His second coming is to save us from the presence of sin and restore paradise lost. But at some point in your life you will face pain and suffering. Job was a good and godly man, yet all ten of his children died tragically in a single day. “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her…’Shall we indeed accept good from God, and…not…adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips” (vv. 9-10 NKJV). Observe two things about adversity. First, the opposite of integrity [wholeness] is fragmentation; we either fall apart or draw closer to God. Second, what we say is crucial: “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Yes, he grieved deeply. And he had lots of questions for God, including unanswered ones. Yet when he spoke, here’s what he said: “He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:10-12 NKJV).

Soul food: Num 1-2; Mark 5:21-30; Ps 35; Prov 10:28-29

Where’s God now?

Job 2:10 NIV

We’ll all face times of suffering and pain. We’re not immune to these things because we’re Christians. One day we’ll be in a place where ‘”there will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ (Revelation 21:4 NIV). Job was ‘an honest and innocent man’ (Job 1:1 NCV). But a whole chain of bad things happened to him. He lost his animals and servants, all ten of his children died, and his health declined. In all this he continued to trust in God. But ‘Job’s wife said to him, “Why are you trying to stay innocent? Curse God and die!”‘ (v.9 NCV). Job had a choice in this very dark valley. He could fall apart and turn away from God, like his wife was encouraging him to do, or he could draw closer to God and continue to praise and trust Him despite everything he was facing. Job answered his wife, saying: ‘Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ He was aware that life wasn’t always going to be good, and accepted the fact that his had now been filled with trouble. Sometimes it can feel like God’s abandoned us and taken away everything He blessed us with. But even in the darkest valleys, He’s still there and He’s still walking alongside us. Psalm 23 says: ‘Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid, because you are with me’ (Psalm 23:4 NCV). If our lives seem to be filled with trouble and we’re wondering where God is, let’s ask Him to show us that He’s right beside us, encouraging us to keep walking until we see His goodness shining through again.

Num 1-2; Mark 5:21-30; Ps 35; Prov 10:28-29

Waar is God wanneer jy seer het?

Job 2:10 NLV

As jy vir God een vraag kon vra, wat sou jy vra? Toe George Barna hierdie vraag in ‘n nasionale opname gevra het, was die primêre reaksie: ‘Hoekom is daar pyn en lyding in hierdie wêreld?’ Die kort antwoord is: Christus se eerste koms was om ons van die straf van ons sondes te red; sy tweede koms sal wees om ons van die teenwoordigheid van sonde te red en die paradys te herstel. Op ‘n sekere stadium in jou lewe sal jy voor pyn en lyding te staan kom. Job was ‘n goeie en ‘n godvresende man; maar tog het al tien sy kinders tragies op dieselfde dag gesterf. ‘Sy vrou vra hom: ‘Hoekom hou jy aan om die Here te dien? Vloek God en sterf!’ Job het haar geantwoord: ‘…Ek het die goeie geskenke uit God se hand aanvaar. Moet ek nie nou ook die slegte aanvaar nie?’ Job het steeds niks verkeerds gedoen of gesê nie’ (verse 9-10 NLV). Let twee dinge oor teenspoed op. Ons val óf uitmekaar, óf ons beweeg nader aan God. Tweedens is dit wat ons sê baie belangrik: ‘Job het steeds niks verkeerds gedoen of gesê nie.’ Ja, hy het diep gerou. Hy het baie vrae vir God gehad, waarvan baie onbeantwoord gebly het. Tog het hy die volgende gesê toe hy gepraat het: ‘Maar Hy weet waarheen ek gaan! Wanneer Hy my toets soos goud in ‘n vuur sal Hy my onskuldig verklaar. Want ek het op sy paaie gebly en hom gevolg sonder om weg te draai. Ek het alles gedoen wat Hy my beveel het. Wat Hy sê, het ek in my hart bewaar’ (Job 23:10-12 NLV).

Sielskos: Num 1-2; Mark 5:21-30; Ps 35; Spr 10:28-29

Do only what God wants you to do

John 17:4 NIV

Over half of those who enter the ministry quit within ten years because of stress and discouragement. How can you avoid that? By following Christ’s example. How did Jesus do it? He tells us: “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does…By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:19-20, 30 NIV). That sounds simple, right? Simple – but not easy. People will try to talk you into doing good things that are not necessarily God’s highest priority for you. You can spend your life doing the “good” and never get around to doing the “best.” Jesus said, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” If God doesn’t give it to you, don’t take it on. And if He does, don’t try it without His help. Grandfather clocks come with two simple instructions: First, don’t let it run down. Second, don’t wind it too tight. Why did Jesus rise before dawn to pray and sometimes pray all night? To avoid getting run-down, or wound up too tight! The Bible says, “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall” (Psalm 55:22 NLT). But He can only carry them when you give them to Him.

Soul food: Jam 3-5; Mark 5:11-20; Ps 94:12-23; Prov 10:27


John 17:4 NIV

When we’re not sure what God wants us to be doing, or we’re worried about saying no to others, we can end up taking on lots of different things. We start on a task, and then find something else to do which distracts us from the original thing. We say yes to everything we’re asked to do, even if it’s not really something we’re skilled in, or even if it doesn’t fit with what God’s called us to do. It’s really important to remember that we can’t do everything. If we take on too much, we can become overwhelmed and ineffective. Instead, we need to ask God for wisdom to know what we should say yes to. We also need to remember that God doesn’t want us to be trapped by people-pleasing. If we’re always doing what other people want us to do, then we’re putting the demands of others above the call of God. Sometimes it’s worth looking at it from a different perspective. We can ask ourselves, ‘If I say yes to this, am I stopping someone else from fulfilling their purpose?’ We need to consider whether God’s calling someone else to do it. God’s made us all with different skills and purposes, just like our body parts have different functions. The Bible says: ‘God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?’ (1 Corinthians 12:18-19 NIV). We need to be focused on our own calling, rather than becoming distracted by other opportunities. Jesus said: ‘I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.’ And we can glorify God by focusing on the things He’s given us to do too.

Jam 3-5; Mark 5:11-20; Ps 94:12-23; Prov 10:27