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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to Complain to God

“Oh, that I had one to hear me! (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!) Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder; I would bind it on me as a crown; I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach him.” Job 31:35-37

Life is difficult and unfair. I remember as a child growing up and being reminded constantly by my parents that life isn't fair. Whenever my older sister would get to go the dollar store and I couldn't go or my younger brother would get the toy I wanted on Christmas, I would plead my case before my parents and the response was always, "Cody, sometimes life just isn't fair." On such occasions I returned to my room, buried my head in my pillow and longed for an impartial judge to hear my case and give me fairness. But no such judge existed. Job was a man who, though righteous, lost everything. He was charitable, faithful, loving, wise, and generous and in payment for his integrity his wealth, health, and household was destroyed. Unlike the trivial things I saw as unfair as a child, his complaint was well founded. Job was the lab rat for a cosmic social experiment. So when Job complains, nobody should be surprised. At some point in every one of our lives, we will have to reconcile the realities of the suffering and unfairness of pain in this world, with the perfect and loving God who created it. Why would God, who is infinitely just, do this to Job? Furthermore, why was Job considered righteous for complaining? Job examines every aspect of his soul, he pleads with God to show him where he messed up, and ultimately demanded a fair hearing in front of the Lord almighty. And in this response, it seems God was pleased. If we define God's justice merely by fairness and equality, we will miss the point and never reconcile suffering with God. What Job learns eventually and what God ultimately declares is that God's justice is anything that serves to proclaim deeper and more poignantly his glory to others. The greatest thing any human being can experience and behold is the glory of God. Job's complaining with God, his wrestling and confusion, his bitterness and angst was justly brought upon him by God to declare majestically his power and sovereignty over creation. Job was righteous in his complaints because they ultimately brought about and magnified the glory of God. It's a hard lesson and one I'm still learning today. We are all pawns in the game of God's glory, and by it we are blessed.

Lord Jesus, let us see your glory as the ultimate purpose for justice and bring our complaints before you in a way that brings you praise!

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