What must we learn from horrible things that happen to us?

God allowed horrible things to happen to Job. He lost his children and his livelihood to invaders and disasters, and he was covered in sores from head to toe. And it all came from God too. It was initiated by Satan but allowed by God.

So why would God allow such a horrible thing to happen? It was to face Job with the biggest problem we humans have got. Which is? We think we can save ourselves. We think it’s within our ability to control our destiny, and it’s even within our power to beat death. That was Satan’s sales pitch with Adam and Eve, that they wouldn’t die. They could beat death. They could save themselves.

And God allowed disaster to sink this point home to Job – and to anyone else wondering why a loving God allows so many awful things to happen – because in Job 40:14 God says to Job, “I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you.” God was quite willing to admit that Job had the power to save himself if Job could prove it. And God’s allowed us to prove it too. He’s given us the freedom to go it alone without him, to prove that nothing is beyond our power and control.

And give us our due, we’ve survived centuries of turmoil, pandemics and disasters – but the troubles never stop coming. Just as we recover from one disaster we get hit with another. But “no matter,” we reply, “we’ll make it through,” we can save ourselves.

It was the same with Job. Terrible tragedy strikes but Job makes it through. He gets hit again, reducing him to a pitiful state, but it’s only in chapter 40 that he’s softened up enough to listen to WHY God is allowing these horrible things to happen. And that’s when God tells him. It’s to show who holds the power to save. Does Job, for instance, “have an arm like God’s” (40:9) that could “crush the wicked where they stand,” and “bury them all in the dust together”?

In other words, does Job have the power to save the world? No, he doesn’t – and nor do we. Never in all our history have we been able to crush and bury all the evil that threatens to destroy our world either. Kill one lunatic off and another takes his place. And one day some idiot could go nuclear and destroy us all.

So at what point did Job accept that it’s GOD who holds the power to save? When he realized he didn’t have the power to save himself.


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