Monday, October 24, 2016

Bad things do happen to good people .......... Parables 501

February 20, 1996

The flight was supposed to leave at 11:30 p.m. After boarding, the pilot announced one gauge failed to read properly. Every few minutes, he returned with negative updates. After an hour, they sent us back into the terminal for coffee and muffins. Finally, about 2:30 a.m., the pilot brought even worse news: the right engine failed. They canceled the flight.

We returned to ticketing. Bob and I told the agent to get us to Orlando, even if she had to reroute us through Hawaii. Nice try, she said, and booked us through Dallas, Texas, a flight leaving at 6:00 a.m. with check-in at 4:30. It was too late to go home and too early to go to gate whatever, so we found a couple of benches and slept, sort of.

The return to Edmonton was almost as challenging. When we boarded in Orlando, the weather was sunny and warm. People were wearing shorts and shirt-sleeves. When we arrived back home, we were greeted by one of the coldest days of the year. Even hardy Albertans struggle with such drastic transitions!

Despite the inconveniences, few people grumbled about the flight cancellation or the weather. Perhaps it is because nearly everyone realized that grumbling would not change either situation. Being angry cannot provoke airlines to produce replacement airplanes or raise winter temperatures. It only heats up those who complain!

Job, a man who has an Old Testament book named after him, is a man for all time because he set a good example of what to do in adversity. He was a good man, wealthy and yet wise. He loved his family and treated his servants, friends and neighbors well. For most of his life, he had little to complain about. All that would change.

Unknown to Job, Satan looked at his goodness with contempt. Job’s integrity was a definite blight to his evil plans. He approached God with a scheme to stop it, suggesting if God did not take such good care of Job, the man would not continue to live in a godly way.

God knew Job’s heart. He also knew that genuine faith in Him is a persevering faith. Satan was actually challenging the integrity of God so the Lord accepted his challenge. He gave Satan permission do whatever he wanted except touch Job’s body. He quickly destroyed this man’s family, servants, and all his livestock — in one day!

Of course Job was overcome by grief, yet Scripture records “in all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

Satan returned and claimed if Job was struck down physically, he would curse God to His face. God allowed this test too, but forbid him to take the man’s life. Then Job’s situation became even more desperate. Even his wife encouraged him to “curse God and die.”

Job’s response? “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, the Bible says Job did not sin in what he said. He later complained and questioned God, but never agreed God was punishing him for hidden sins, as was the accusation of his friends. He did not enjoy or understand what was happening but held onto his belief that God would work good from it. He said, “When I am tested, I will come forth as gold” and “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

Job’s story makes readers thankful for what they have and glad that God is in control. We may wonder why God allows such horrible things to happen to good people but God’s Word never explains. He only invites us to trust Him. Job did — and survived the challenges, challenges far more difficult than sleeping on a plastic bench or making a transition from a balmy +25 to a frigid -37.

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