When it is dark enough, men see the stars (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
A raging controversy has caused great and small minds alike to engage in debate regarding human misfortune.Is suffering a by-product of wrongdoing and all good fortune the result of virtue?This topic loomed large in the ancient mind.Minute details of age old philosophies dating back to 2000 B.C. have been preserved.One such document is included in the Old Testament Scriptures.They tell Job’s story, a righteous man who lost everything—wealth, health and family through three horrific mishaps.Four friends visit Job and a debate ensues.
These miserable comforters, as Job regards them, believe that all tragedy and suffering are the result of transgression.Job declares his righteousness (Job 10:7, 13:15, 27:5-6), “God, you know that I am not wicked; until I die I will not put away my integrity—my righteousness I hold fast and will not let it go; though God slay me yet will I trust Him; I will defend my own ways before Him.
Job’s four friends proclaim the reigning rule of thought for the day; disaster, natural or otherwise, visits only the abode of the vile.Eliphaz begins his argument, (Job 4:7, 5:2), “Whoever perished being innocent and when was the upright ever cut off?” He continues, “Wrath kills a foolish man and envy slays a simple one … happy is the man whom God corrects therefore do not despise the chastening of the Lord.”“Zophar following the lead of Eliphaz declares (Job 11:6), “God has given you less than you deserve!”Bildad adds insult to injury (Job 8:6), “If you were pure and upright, surely God would help and prosper you … God will not cast away the blameless.”Elihu concludes the debate (Job 34:11, 37), “God repays humanity according to his or her works … you speak like a wicked man and add rebellion to your sin.”
Twenty centuries later this issue still looms large in the minds of people. Christ’s disciples seeing a blind man asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind?Was it the result of his own sins or those of his parents?”“Neither,” Jesus answered.“But to demonstrate the power of God.”Jesus did not connect sin and tragedy.He saw calamity as an opportunity for God to right the wrongs of misfortune and bind the wounds of hurting people.
God said (Job 1:8), “Job is a good man who fears Me and will have nothing to do with evil.”Suffering is a fact of life—righteous people are not exempt.But when the trials of life are over; God will stand up for the blameless (Acts ).Charles Swindoll said, “Pearls are the product of pain … a precious, tiny jewel conceived through irritation, born of adversity, nursed by adjustments. Some oysters are never wounded … and those who seek for gems toss them aside, they are fit only for stew.”
Submitted 4/1/2008 2:17:51 PM | Author: Dan Turpin