Do you think of trials and tragedies as punishment? Like when people treat you wrong or accidents happen?
When tempted to be angry at God for things he allows, think of what Joseph went through, (Gen. 37-50). His brothers sold him into slavery. Later, he was put in jail for something he didn’t do. But God worked in and through his life. He became second to Pharaoh and stored up grain for an expected famine.
Years later, during the famine, his brothers came to buy food and Joseph gave it to them. He forgave them, saying, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Gen. 50:20, RSV).
The story of Job is another example. Job lost his children, livestock, health, nearly everything. The beginning of the book makes it clear this is not punishment. God wants to prove something to Satan.
Job goes through grief and asks a lot of questions and argues with his so-called friends who think the tragedies are his own fault. They aren’t. He’s a good man, “blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil,” (Job 1:1b). But at the end of the book, after his encounter with Omnipotent God, we see a changed Job. God has humbled and purified him. He says, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes,” (Job 42:5, NIV).
God used these tragedies for good in Job’s life to draw him into a more intimate and trusting relationship with himself and to perfect his character. After this was accomplished, God blessed Job by restoring to him what Satan had robbed from him (see Job 42:10-17).
It intrigues me that Job knew much earlier that God was doing something like this. In the midst of his grief, he says, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him; on the left hand I seek him, but I cannot behold him; I turn to the right hand but I cannot see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold,” (Job 23:8-10, RSV). He trusted God even in the midst of intense grief.
Verse ten was a great comfort to me early in my grief. But in my later anger with God for not granting my requests, I temporarily forgot to trust that he was working for my good, refining me like gold.
In the New Testament, Paul writes, “In everything God works for good for those who love him,”(Rom. 8:28, RSV) If we love him, we will trust him and he will use it for good.
Tragedies are never God’s idea. He’s in the restoring business. “I will restore to you the years the locust has eaten….” Joel 2:25, By now, God has restored to me much of what Satan had robbed from me. Through it all, my Lord taught me to trust him better.
God’s judgment is never meant to destroy, but to bring people into right relationships with him. God wants pure vessels he can use. We’ll be happiest if we learn to trust him and fit into his wonderful plans for us.
I discovered a nice song that talks about God’s restoration. I hope you enjoy it and please comment on the post. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5ktOi1IpBg
Judith Vander Wege
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