Summary: Understanding God’s will -- how bad things happen to good people and how to understand it and work with it
“That’s not fair!!” The child tearfully exclaimed to her mother. “Why can’t I go too!” “Because you are too little,” the mother explained – “next year when you are bigger you can go on all the rides. That is part of growing up.” “But I want to go on the roller coster now!!” She continued to cry. Poor Mom -- she felt so torn as she wanted the child to be able to go on the ride but understood with all the maturity it takes to be a good parent that the safety of the child was at stake – and as a parent that came first – Was it fair? Children seem to learn at a very early age about fairness. They seem to be born with an innate sense of fairness.
Down the path a woman stood and watched this scene unfold in front of her and a large tear escaped despite all the inner strength she could muster. “If only I had that problem” she thought to herself and turned on her heel and walked away. This 27 year old woman had recently been diagnosed with complications in her womb and would never feel or experience child birth. “It’s not fair” she scolded as she walked quickly away. “What did I do to deserve this?”
“I am sorry John but we have decided to award the promotion to Jennifer as she is better qualified and is more experienced in the company at this time. We are impressed with what you have done here so far and encourage you to work toward a future promotion when you are better prepared and more abreast of the company policies and procedures.” John thanked his boss with half a smile and walked out of the office. As he returned to his desk he felt an overwhelming frustration take hold and as the tension spread down his neck and into his shoulders he cursed under his breath. He needed this promotion to make ends meet – he had what it took, he knew it – all he needed was a chance – “It isn’t fair.”
The pressure of fairness – the perspective of equality – can be devastating to anyone – Life can be so unfair. Who sets the rules? Have you ever thought about what it means to be fair?
Being fair is first and foremost on most people’s minds. Parents weigh out the fairness in raising children; husbands and wives look to be fair in their relationships; many employers are bound by the union to continually evaluate fairness in the workplace; churches, too, are not excluded from a scrutinized eye as we all watch to see whether they are fair. Should we be consider being fair in the eyes of our biblical knowledge or should we just be faithful, follow God and let fair take care of itself?
God and Satan were having a conversation – that is quite a sight in my imagination. Did they get together weekly to exchange stories over coffee or was this a one-time thing? I am not sure – but for this fine day they were talking back and forth and comparing notes on integrity and potency of people’s faith. Job Chapter 1 Vs 6 says that it was the gathering of the heavenly beings and Satan was amongst them. Satan felt that God bought his people in the way of blessings and was saying “Its not fair, you
do all this good why would they not follow you?” So God’s answer was Job – God decided that Job was a good candidate to test and see if his faith was strong enough and deep enough to stand the test of Satan. My goodness, when I read this my first reaction was one of fright – the term “God fearing” came to mind and I never have felt I needed to fear God. God for me is forgiving; loving; all consuming and is more faithful to me than I can return. So to have this apprehension instilled in me was a little foreign.
Job was a faithful man. He was generous, particularly to orphans and widows. He was happily married with 10 children, seven boys and three girls, and was well respected in his community. He had followed God’s word. He had done God’s work. He was strong and lived a full healthy life. He was what was considered to be God fearing. So upon Satan’s challenge that (chapter 1 vs 11) "but now suppose you take away everything he has – he will curse you to your face." God hearing this invited Satan to test Job and the only restriction was not to kill him.
In Chapter 1 verses 13 – 22 it records the loss of his family, his sheep, his camels and his servants. They were all taken in various ways – storms, slaughter, and murder. Job was devastated but did not blame God. Vs. 22 "in spite of everything that had happened, Job did not sin by blaming God." But Satan wasn’t finished yet. Satan was not satisfied with this test – excuses led to yet more testing. If Job wouldn’t sin under the duress of emotional loss and pain then he would under physical pain. In Chapter 2 verse 7 sores broke out on Job’s body and at this point his wife was even questioning God. Finally after seven days of silence Job began the journey of grieving and voicing his pain and torment. But Job was asking for answers in the wrong place. When Job had reached the end of his rope and was beginning to cave in under the pressures he turned first to what he knew. God was always generous and blessed him freely with good fortune and a healthy life. Those gifts always made it easier to be faithful, but now in times of trials the path isn’t always as clear.