Lessons from the tragic events of life
Greetings precious people, I do hope that you are doing well today. We have all gone through some trying times in the past days. To those that have lost loved ones and homes as a result of the fire I want you to know that there are many that are praying for you at this difficult time. I have received e-mails and calls as close as Hemet and Costa Mesa and as far away as Ecuador, China, and Israel. All of us from the local churches are here to help you in any way that we can, please let us know how we can help. I have spent time in Alpine, Crest, Harbison Canyon, Descanso, and Sherilton Valley over the past week and the devastation is great.
I also want you to know that God does love you and cares for you immensely. I know that questions arise in times like these such as “How could God allow something like this to happen? Why didn’t He do something?” And many other questions like these. I admit that I do not have all the answers. What I do know is that God did work even in the midst of this great tragedy. I have spoken to many that have told me how God took care of them during this time and is getting them through the heartache and sorrow. I know that God loves you and that He desires to work in every aspect of our lives if we allow Him to. Only God is able to take that which is meant for evil and turn into something for good. The Bible, God’s Word, is full of examples of this. As we study the Bible we find the grace and faith we need to get through times like these.
I feel that it is important to take a break at this time from our study through the Book of Philippians to bring some words of comfort and warning from God’s Word, the Bible. The tendency that many have in times like these is to not just ask the why’s and how comes in regards to God’s action or inaction but to ask them in such a way as to blame God and charge Him foolishly.
I do not believe for a moment that God is offended when we ask Him why this or that has happened in our lives when we are truly seeking His answers to life’s tough issues. The offence occurs when we ask them in such a way as to blame God or to say that He has done wrong or has been unjust in His actions or seeming inactions.
These charges are usually made by those that do not know God and are ignorant of God’s ways and really do not want God involved in their life except for when they want something.
I want to take you to the Book of Job and examine a part of his life that we may be both instructed and encouraged. We read this in the first chapter of Job, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and hates evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nothing? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, the fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
Please read the last sentence again. It says, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Without a doubt, Job did not know the entire why’s and how comes of what was happening in his life at the moment. But he knew God and that He was in control of his life and the events that were occurring in his life. He knew that God was just and right in all of His ways. He knew that as the Book of Isaiah puts it in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Things only get worse for Job in chapter two. We read this in Job 2:1-9, “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause." So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.
Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!"
Talk about tragic events! Job lost everything and even his wife turned against him, yet notice if you would how Job responded to this all. In Job 2:10, “But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
After all of this four so called friends came and gave Job a real hard time, you can read about it for yourself I chapters 3 through 37. In all of this, God had something to teach Job and because Job was teachable, he learned resulting in God blessing Job.
Dear precious people, learn the lesson from Job and from recent events, don’t charge God foolishly over the events in your life. Be teachable, allow God to work through the events in your life to instruct and teach you in the way that you should go.
We all have something to learn or be reminded of from recent events. For some it is the reality of how easily life can change, of what is “really” important in life, of how short life can be, or the need to once again get our priorities back in the right order.
May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you. Next week, Lord willing, we will continue our study in the Book of Philippines.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our web site at www.calvarychapel.org/alpine/index.htm
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine