“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” (Job 1:1)
Some believe the book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible. Regardless, the issue of suffering leads the list of the most difficult questions to reconcile in life. Why do bad things happen, especially to good people, or at least to individuals we see as innocent? Men have been trying to get their minds around that question for centuries. Books have been written, sermons preached and movies made, all trying to probe the question and come to some kind of resolution that makes sense. Where do you look?
At any given time, bad things are happening on a global scale. The advent of high-powered, global media, via television and the Internet, bring it home to us quickly. The images of the Oklahoma tragedies from tornadoes, the pictures of a fallen building and broken bodies in India, and horrific automobile crashes from last night’s newscast bore their way into our hearts and minds. We can’t get these pictures out of our head and we can’t completely reason them through to satisfaction. We are left with a probing question: Why DO bad things happen?
A devotional is not the place to completely explore the subject in detail…that’s for sure! You probably don’t have the time to read or research the base cause of evil in God’s good world or even wrestle why a good God would allow evil a season in any man’s life. That’s for another day! However, I believe the simple statement of Job, when he found out he had lost his income and his children, bears scrutiny. Here’s what he said in deep emotional pain and worship: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21) When Job got squeezed, what came from his lips was amazing…it was the Naked Truth!
So, what is that truth? Here it is: “We came into this world with nothing. We are owed nothing. We leave this planet with nothing. Our life does not consist of what we have or what has been taken away from us. God is worthy of our praise…regardless!” However, until we believe the last sentence, we will always struggle believing we are entitled somehow to success, joy, absence of pain and peace. Do you feel entitled? If so, peace will never be yours, regardless of your modicum of success in the important arenas of your life.
The apostle Paul understood the Naked Truth, too, when he penned, “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (Romans 14:8) The Naked Truth is not without great pain. In fact, we probably will never fully embrace it until we actually experience deep pain. Job was not without his expressions of deep, gut-wrenching, grief. We, too, will not be able to navigate around it in life. Do you know what Job said before he began to struggle with his health? What he believed and said would be challenged on another day as well. He never got the answer to his why question, did he? Maybe, it’s because when you resolve yourself with the Naked Truth, the questions we ask don’t seem so important to be answered any longer.