“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:10 NIV)
Recently, I was speaking with someone who was losing their faith. They had gone through some serious tough times and it made them feel as though God were not real. They would cry out to God but get no answer. They felt that if it was true that God was real and loved them, he should be there. How many people in this world walk away from the faith because of a similar story? One of the more famous stories of this is the Biblical scholar Bart Erhman who said this about leaving the faith:
“But I had come very much to doubt that any such God existed. And it was the problem of suffering that had created these doubts and that eventually led me to doubt it so much that I simply no longer believed it. If God helps his people – why doesn’t he help his people? If he answers prayer, why doesn’t he answer prayer? If he intervenes, why doesn’t he intervene?”
When in the middle of these trials and troubles it is easy to see how we could lose our faith. Yet, I believe there is a deeper faith that we are missing if we do. The faith of the prophets, the faith of Job, and the faith of Christ. The prophets often lived through times where God was not bringing good news but bad, where troubles, and trials and wrath were coming for the people of God. Yet, these prophets faithfully brought unpopular messages even if it led to their persecution and pain. They watched as God drove his promised people from their land into exile, into suffering, into death. Job had his wealth, his health, and his children taken from him and yet would not curse God for the suffering he saw. Jesus went to the cross to suffer a horrific death of which you and I cannot imagine and drank from the cup of God’s wrath willingly.
What is our faith if we only accept good from God and not trouble? How long will we last as believers if our faith depends upon God always bringing good things to our lives and our world. Do we not see as the prophets, as Job and as Christ, that apart from God we have no hope? Can we not see that if we lose God we lose everything? Where is your hope Christian, is it in good or bad for your life, is it in your circumstances and your trials; or is your hope in your relationship with God?
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Rom 8:35 NIV)