by Mike Ratliff
9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10 (NASB)
There is a form of Christianity prevalent in post-modern America that has an incredible hold on some people to the point their conception of God is that He is little more than a vending machine or a kindly grandfather who would never hurt anyone. I speak, of course, of all forms of Christianity that are man-based. Their problem is that they are conceived of by people who have no patience for theology. Instead, they rely on their own conception of God based within the limits of their ability to reason. For instance, their conception of God is that He is too good to be unfair. Then, of course, their conception of what is fair and unfair enter into their reasoning. The end result is that, since God does not seem to come through the same for all people, then the problem must be with the people themselves. If one person is not healed while some are then those who are not healed must not have enough faith because God is fair and would not leave anyone in sickness while healing others.
The problem with this is that these people are placing limits on God based upon their own reason. They teach a theology based upon fairness and equality for all. Is this Biblical? I know that my answer here will get me into some hot water with some people, but that is not what is important. The truth is imperative. No, that form of Christianity is not Biblical. In fact, any conception of God that is not based on the whole counsel of God, His Word, is not Biblical.
One of the things I would like to high-light in this post is the fact that God does allow suffering in people in order to accomplish His will. He is Sovereign. He is not bound to anyone’s conception of fairness. God is Just, but He is also merciful. When His people suffer we cannot automatically state that the cause of that suffering is sin in their lives or whatever. The following quotes are from The Obedience Of A Christian Man by William Tyndale.
Let us receive all things of God whether it be good or bad: let us humble ourselves under his mighty hand and submit ourselves unto his nurture and chastising and not withdraw ourselves from his correction (read Hebrews 12 for thy comfort) and let us not take the staff by the end or seek to avenge ourselves on his rod which is the evil rulers. The child as long as he seeketh to avenge himself upon the rod hath an evil heart. For he thinketh not that the correction is right or that he hath deserved it, neither repenteth, but rejoiceth in his wickedness. And so long shall he never be without a rod: yea so long shall the rod be made sharper and sharper. If he knowledge his fault and take the correction meekly and even kiss the rod and amend himself with the learning and nurture of his father and mother then is the rod take away and burnt. – William Tyndale
If we are honest with ourselves we must all admit that we fight our bad circumstances. When things go bad and we don’t get our way or people seem to be deliberately causing our stress and anguish don’t we lash out at them in one way or another? Don’t we fight the lash of God by reacting in a way bound to our sense of fairness? If we have a problem with patience in the face of circumstances that seem to be deliberately and arbitrarily against us don’t we go into a rage and seek remedy? Why is it that we can’t see that God is using these circumstances to uncover the root of our problem. Impatience is rooted in pride. Pride is evil. God will not allow us to arrogantly hang onto our pride and walk with Him. The lash of God may seem horribly unfair and destructive, but in God’s capable hands, it will bring our wickedness into the light so we can deal with it by His grace. Of course, this is humbling isn’t it? Does anyone enjoy this? I sure don’t
If we submit ourselves unto the chastening of God and meekly knowledge our sins for which we are scourged, and kiss the rod, and amend our living: then will God take the rod away, that is, he will give the rulers a better heart. Or if they continue their malice and persecute you for well-doing and because ye put your trust in God, then will God deliver you out of their tyranny for his truth’s sake. – William Tyndale
We must remember that God’s Justice is far above anyone’s sense of fairness. People have it backward. They approach Holiness and Righteousness from a point of reference of partial fulfillment being sufficient. In other words, they compare their Holiness and Righteousness against that of other people. They believe that since there are others who aren’t doing as well as they are then God must surely grant them approval as He awards their efforts. The problem with that reasoning is that the standard of comparison is all wrong. For the Christian, the standard is our Lord Jesus Christ. How do we compare to His Holiness and Righteousness? I come up so far short that it is humiliating. How can I presume upon God’s grace by insisting on treatment based upon my own fleshly concept of fairness? I must humble myself under His lash as He uses it to bare the roots of wickedness within my heart. After all, how can I deal with these roots of sin based in pride unless I am aware of them?
A Christian man in respect of God is but a passive thing, a thing that suffereth only and doeth nought, as the sick in respect of the surgeon or physician doth but suffer only. The surgeon lanceth and cutteth out the dead flesh, searcheth the wounds, thrusteth in tents, seareth, burneth, seweth or sticheth and layeth corsies to draw out the corruption, and last of all layeth to healing plasters and maketh whole. The physician likewise giveth purgations and drinks to drive out the disease and then with restoratives bringeth health. Now if the sick resisteth the razor, the searching iron and so forth, doth he not resist his own health and is cause of his own death? So likewise is it of us, if we resist evil rulers which are the rod and scourge wherewith God chastiseth us, the instruments wherewith God searcheth our wounds, and bitter drinks to drive out the sin and to make it appear, and cories to draw out by the roots the core of the pocks of the soul that fretteth inward. A Christian man therefore receiveth all things of the hand of God both good and bad, both sweet and sour, both wealth and woe. – William Tyndale
Don’t we all want God to make us well? Don’t we all want to be Christlike and Spiritually whole? I do and I am sure you do as well. If this be so then why do we fight the lash of God? Let us seek His face and determine that we will submit to His surgery and doctoring in our hearts. Unless we do this we will find ourselves remaining in an incomplete spiritual state not being as mature in Christ as God desires us to be. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling by cooperating with Him in our sanctification.
Soli Deo Gloria!