Imagine your whole life has just fallen apart in the span of one month. Your business has failed. All your children and grandkids were killed in a terrorist attack. Your wife is so distraught with grief that she blames you for everything and turns against you in anger. You have been falsely accused by the federal government for tax evasion in regard to your bankrupt company, and the media has used this story to trash your once impeccable reputation in the community. And to top it off, your best friends whom you thought you could count on for support, believe the reports. Oh, and your doctor left a message he wants to see you ASAP in his office to talk about you cancer biopsy.
You are a very committed Christian. Your life has been blessed financially, socially and with a wonderful family. You have tried to give back to your community, your church and to others. People have always admired and respected you. Now you seem to be a pariah. You feel totally and completely alone. You wonder what is happening and why? Right now the only one you can turn to is God and you are wondering, “Is He enough to get me through this?
Why do bad things happen to good people?
You understand the theology of fallen mankind — there is none good but God. The reality is none of us deserve anything good from God. But some people do live better lives than others on the earth. Some have experienced God’s grace in salvation and seek to follow Jesus in their daily lives. It is always a puzzle when people like this suffer the negative consequences of life in a fallen world while at the same time evil people seem to prosper. In times like these, we ask God why and how; how do I go on from this? This is why the book of Job and Habakkuk are in the Bible.
We learn God is working out his purpose, and the story isn’t over until it is over. And the story isn’t over yet for any of us. We also learn, “The just shall live by faith.” When there seems to be no answer that makes sense to us, we trust what we do know about God. This is what enables us to go on.
What do we know about God? We know he loves us because he tells us so and proved it by sending his only son to die for our sin on the cross. We know he is all-wise, righteous and just. He will always do the right thing. He is all-knowing and has information we don’t have when it comes to his decisions. He may choose to share this information with us or he may not; that is his prerogative as God. We know there will be a final judgment when this just God administers perfect justice and rights all wrongs.
We also know this all-powerful God is able to take all things, good and bad, and accomplish good in our life through them. It is because of all these truths about God that Job, after his life tragedies was able to look up to God and say in his grief, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong the Bible says (Job 1:21-22).
Is God enough when it is all you have?
That is quite a statement to be able to make in that situation. I wonder if I could say the same in a similar condition.
I have had tough times in my life but never as tough as Job had. We all would like to think we would respond the right way in any circumstance, but the truth is you never know until you are there. The truth is for me and most of us, I don’t like being in the place of having nothing but God. I know we sing the songs about this, but be honest. Don’t you like to have friends, family and the respect of others? Don’t you like to have some money in the bank, life insurance and a retirement fund? Don’t you like to have a job you enjoy or a successful business that provides you with a good living? Don’t you like to experience good health for you and your loved ones? Don’t you like to have some food in the pantry so you aren’t wondering where your next meal is coming from? Don’t you like living in a free country that gives you the opportunity to follow your dreams, worship and raise your family according to the dictates of your conscience?
If all of this was stripped away, is God alone enough? God wants us to live in the state of being able to say yes like Job. At times in life, we may be tested like Job was to bring us to that place. Like Abraham he may give us something then ask for it back. Like Abraham in these times we hold on to God’s promises and His oath (Hebrews 6:13-20). Both of these truths keep us sure and steadfast. They keep our soul anchored in God’s presence with hope.
Then we will have learned God alone is enough.
Dr. John Hawkins, Sr. runs Gateway Counseling Center in Boynton Beach along with his son John Jr. He can be reached by visiting gatewaycounseling.com.