Goodbye old friend…

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stephen

Scripture: Job 8: Then Bildad the Shuhite answered (to Job): 2 “How long will you say these things (complaints to God), and the words of your mouth be a great wind? 3 Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert the right? 4 If your children sinned against him, he delivered them into the power of their transgression.”

Observation: Another of Job’s friends, Bildad, presses the argument that Job’s children must have sinned against God or they wouldn’t have died. “Does God pervert justice?” (v.3) In Bildad’s worldview, this is the only explanation. Of course, the reader has the benefit of chapter 1 in which we learn it was Satan who brought calamity upon Job and his family, not God.

Bildad’s theology, his understanding of God and spiritual matters, was too limited to accurately assess what had happened to Job.

Application: I’ve been studying God and the things of God for many years now. Here’s one thing I’ve learned – it’s nearly impossible to pin God down. Humans want certainty. We want to know that when A happens, B is the result, and C is the reason why. Every time. We want predictability. We want consistency. Good luck.

Yesterday I went to the funeral for an old friend of mine Stephen who was 51 years old when he died. At his funeral were lots of other old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. It left me wondering, “Why Stephen?” There were others us who were far more reckless in our youth than Stephen. Others of us who were far less responsible in many ways in later adulthood. Yet death found him and not us. It defies simple explanation. Why Stephen? I don’t know. Neither does anyone else.

Maybe you’re asking yourself the same kind of thing today. Why am I struggling when others are not? What did I do to deserve this? Where is God in all of this? These are timeless questions that, too often, have no answer. So this morning we cry out to God together.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, life seems so arbitrary at times. Things don’t make sense. We want answers. We want explanations. None are forthcoming. Give us grace to make peace with the unknown, trusting that you walk with us in our pain. I pray especially today for the family and friends of my former high school friend and college roommate Stephen. Hold him close to you, dear God, until we all meet again. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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