“I’m tired of God, and I’m tired of church. It doesn’t do any good anyway.”
Ever had someone say something like that to you? How did you respond? How would you respond if they said that to you in an unexpected, surprisingly honest moment of sharing?
With so many problems and conflict issues in our world today, it does make one wonder where God is, and why He’s not acting.
Or if He’s there at all.
The truth is great people and greatly simple people have always felt this way and have always asked these questions. And the responses they get are sometimes good, sometimes not so much.
Job is one of the first we think of. He had everything going his way, seemingly (or so he thought) because of his obedient faith and trust in God. And then everything was taking away. It got so bad that he asked God to just take his life. And yet that was the one thing that God would not allow Satan to do. He let the Adversary take his family, his material possessions, his health, his reputation, everything. Except the one thing—the only thing—Job ultimately asked God to take. Sound like a merciful and loving Father to you?
And Job’s wife and friends were no help. They told him things like “Curse God and die,” or “Your kids got what they deserved,” or “We’ve always believed that the righteous prosper and the wicked suffer. You’re suffering, Job. Do the math!”
When God comes along He has let Job rant and rave and is not a bit threatened by it. Hmm. Wonder if that could be said of us? When He does respond to Job, God doesn’t answer his questions. Instead, the questioner becomes the one questioned. What Job comes to realize is that there’s a lot about life and about being God—and even being Job—that Job didn’t understand.
Like Habakkuk the prophet was told in facing the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, God basically told Job, “You’re going to have to trust me on this one.”
Just as He told Elijah when he felt so alone and abandoned, God told Job, “I’ve got this.” And for Job, that was enough.
It seems when people are faced with adversity they may deny it or actually and honestly face it. And if they face it, they tend to go one of two directions. They go to God for help. Or they go away from God. Where there’s no help. That’s what Richard May has called “moving from one deadness to the next.” Well that’s not good enough for me. And I hope it’s not good enough for you.
God has never promised that He would save us from all things that bring us trouble. In fact, He’s pretty much assured us that this life will—not might but will—have troubles from time to time.
But He’s promised us His presence in the midst of those troubles. He guaranteed that promise by joining Himself to our troubles at the cross.
And He’s given us a body of people to help. We call it church. We help each other run to God.