The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Thursday, September 06, 2012

"Why is this happening to ME; what did *I* do to deserve this?' ( the Patience ( and Wisdom ) of Job )

Often, when we are beset with trials and temptations, we tend to ask ourselves ( or God, rather ) questions like this. When we are faced with such situations, however, it is not as usual as it used to be, to turn to the story of Job, and seek the wisdom that he employed when faced with his tribulations ( I can almost guarantee you; what he faced was worse than pretty much anything most people face ) There is much hidden wisdom to be gleaned from the book of Job, but my purpose is not to seek out this hidden wisdom, necessarily, but to seek that which is plainly written.

'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?'

When reading this story, this is what we need to keep foremost in our minds; God saw Job as the Perfect Man, doing as he should! God was not wrong about Job, although one might tend to that conclusion as one enters the story, He did not speak falsely concerning Job; Job lived up to every expectation God had for him!

'Why, then, did God allow all this to happen to him?', you might ask. You might as easily ask, 'why did God place the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden, knowing, as He must have, the trouble it would cause?' Going back to our first question, for we might dismiss the second for a later time, again we can see, as we read through the story, some reasons for why this might have happened to Job. First of all, we might ascertain, as some have, that God was simply using Job as a test-case, to prove to his Accuser that He ( God ) was right about Job. This, although it almost seems unfair, and certainly somewhat petty of our Creator and Father, may seem to have a sort of *wisdom* about it, and almost certainly is the clearest answer as to why Job had to endure what he did, I believe, is not the answer!

If something were to happen in our lives which made us feel akin to Job, and even when we have done things that we know are deserving of this or worse, it is natural to look back on our lives and ask ourselves ( even others ), 'why is this happening to ME?', and 'what did *I* do to deserve this?' As individuals, and again, this is only natural, we tend to selfishly think that WE must have done something wrong to warrant this tribulation! Though this is sometimes the case ( we do reap what we sow ), it is not always so; look at Job and ask yourself, 'what did Job do to warrant this?' Well obviously, seeing as God proclaimed him 'a blameless and upright man', he didn't do ANYTHING to deserve it, so 'why', again, would God do this to poor old Job?

Often, more often than not, sadly, when such things take place in our little lives, we're tempted to murmur and complain, lash out, and sometimes, to despair. However, when we realize that we are not simply individuals ( we are that, but ' no man is an island' ), but that we are part of a larger Body, a part of God's creation, and therefore subject to a higher Power and Purpose, things might begin to fall into place, so to speak, for us!

Job's friends, as we can see from our own reading of the story of Job, had some good points. They were wrong in many aspects about Job, but they spoke quite correctly about certain aspects of God's nature.They actually seemed to have a certain *wisdom* about them!

As we find later in the book though, Job's friends had not spoken rightly of God, especially  concerning Job, maybe, so Job offered sacrifice ( theirs ) and prayer for his friends, and they were spared the wrath of God who would have dealt with them according to their folly, had he not! Looking at Job's friends, then, we can ascertain at least one aspect of the wisdom of this piece of literature. If Job had not gone though all that he did, the folly of his friends would not have been exposed and so would have been 'dealt with' ( we can only speculate what THAT might have involved ), and Job would not have had the opportunity of 'playing priest' ( atoning ) for them!

We, therefore, when we go through these trials and tribulations, whether deservedly, reaping what we've sown, or whether, hard, as we try, we cannot fathom why God would allow such calamity to befall us, should first ask ourselves, 'how does this calamity affect those around me?', 'what might God be doing for them through me?' The realization that it is not all about me, but that it has everything to do with us, should give us pause, and even the greatest comfort when we go through what some have called 'the trial of our faith'!

The question before all of us, and I will say, almost selfishly, before me, first and foremost, is, 'will we use these situations to glorify God, to strengthen and edify the Body, or will we selfishly murmur and complain, even despairing of life? Will we use the wisdom that Job showed, and persevere, or just do better, or will we continue to reap what we sow, wallowing in our own guilt and misery?  

The choice is yours; choose wisely!

Charles Haddon Shank

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