Saturday, November 26, 2005

Joy in Sorrow

The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years.
--Job 42:12-17

What a curious book, the Book of Job. A good man, one who loves God, is tormented by the worse things possible. He loses his possessions, and his business, and his children. He loses his health, his wife turns against him, and his friends sit and accuse him, one after another, of secretly sinning, cursing, God. The Lord never explains why he had to suffer.

Yet in the end, Job seems to have been happy. He took as much joy in the children that came later as those he had before. He still loved the Lord, and he lived many more, “full” years.

Life couldn’t have gotten more screwed up, and yet he found joy.

Life is screwed up today. People suffer so terribly. When I think about the suffering in Uganda my heart aches. A rebel army, calling itself a group of christians, turns children into prostitutes, soldiers, and murderers of their families. Imagine what it does to a child to force him to axe his mother.

When I think of those dying from AIDS and cancer and malnutrition, it is like a blow to my spirit. Earthquakes and tsunamis and wars, the Earth is a very sad little ball of dirt spinning in a corner of the universe.

There is a bruise on my heart from the aches that I have felt, and it throbs when I see suffering. And I am reminded of the mistaken notions people have about the Book of Job.

They cannot understand how God could have permitted such a thing to happen to such a good man. I hear that sentiment echoed by the skeptics of my faith when they turn moist eyes to gaze at the heartache that typifies humanity. I understand that confusion.

I have felt confused many times because I have looked at such things, felt such things, and have trembled at how wrong it all seems. That ache comes from loving people, though I do it so poorly.

I wish I could love the way Jesus did. He loved people. As simple as that. He did not base His love on how much or how well they would love Him back. He did not base His love on how well they obeyed. He did not base His love on how much influence His love would get if He showed that person love. He simply loved.

He knows that we are all screwed up. He knows that we are selfish, and silly, and sometimes simply stupid. And it doesn't matter. He loves us... knowing that we are screw ups. His love is not based on whether or not we will return it or earn it or even yearn for it. He simply loves. He IS love.

We are creatures with stunted hearts. We tend to think of ourselves first. Our bellies, our roof, our children, and so on, in the exact order of how far they are from our center, from our heart.

But if we can make Him the center of our heart, we will find that in that center is a love that encompasses everyone, everything. We will find that the creator of the universe has no problem with removing our worn out shoes to wash our feet carefully. That He will place His hands on the sores and the cuts and the thorns and spread a balm of healing love on our hurts with more tenderness than we could.

Imagine that sore spot in your life as a wound on your foot. The God of all creation sent someone to Earth, to you, to wash that foot, and place it on His lap so that He could bind it up.

He may never tell us why we have gotten our injuries. But He understands them. And He loves us with a passion that sent him stumbling up Golgotha with a splintered piece of wood across His shoulders.

(Lord, help me to love that way! Help me to love without embarassment, without excuses, the lesbian trio down the street, and the strange woman who wanders around the park muttering to herself, and the pompous jerk, because they are Your children as much as I. --Amen)

When I consider the love of my Lord I feel such joy. I feel like dancing! Oh I am such a blessed man. I have a home, and so many do not. I have a family which loves me. Many do not. I have food in the frig and a place to pray and a dog who thinks I am a much greater a guy than I really am. But, oh wonders of all, I have a Lord who loves me and blesses me.

So, for those who don’t understand the Book of Job, I can relate. The world is so dreadful, so sad, so hurtful. But do not lay the sorrows of the world on the clean hands of the only one who loves us despite our self-centered ways. He may not explain all, but draw near to Him and your hurt will ease and your feet will begin to shuffle side to side and you will understand why Job was, in the end, a happy and blessed man.


Kc said...


Dem Soldier said...

well said........

Thanks for your comment....

Nancy said...

Happy thanksgiving! I love your posts and thoughts.

lady_wisdom said...

I loved your post! Job is one of my favorite books (but I have been guilty of saying that about most of the books of the Bible...LOL). The one thing that always amazes me about the book of Job is the spiritual warfare that is going on. Job is completely unaware of this. And God uses this in such a way, that even tho Job is such a righteous man, he can claim in Job 42: "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." Wow. God often uses suffering to give us a deeper understanding of Him and ourselves. How I love Him for this! Thanks for your thoughts!

pecheur said...

Glad to hear things went well for you this weekend. WOW.

Hang in there. The Gates of Hell will never prevail.

Thanks for showing us all what it is like to be a Servant of Christ!!

Coco said...

God's love for us is unconditional...he takes us with opened arms.
HE has called us by name even before our birth! We are HIS children- and we are blessed!


David said...

The book of Job is so hard to understand but so easy to relate to - at least the suffering part. I just want the ending that JOb had. I wonder many times if that is really, truly possible.

Your heart is in the right place to get that kind of ending.

Fred said...

This is well done. I don't understand the book of Job very well. This helped me, and it also makes me want to read it again.

Darlene said...

I'm sure I saw it before, but it just didn't sink in until now. I never realized that Job was more blessed in the second part of his life. I thought God restored a life for him, but I didn't see that God had given him more, that He'd blessed him so abundantly. God is faithful.

Lillee said...

I really love the book of Job, even before I found your blog, I had read it several times. Often I find a verse you have pulled out and I look it up to see it in context. I think it is a book most people can relate too, especially non believers. Everyone has doubters in thier life, like Job's friends. We all lose loved ones to death, we all have to look to something for hope. The difference is what we look too. I look to Christ. I love my Saviour so much. I can't believe what I was a year ago and what I am today. I was reminded of that last night in a rest stop. Two guys were fighting, with so much hate. One of the guys had some kids who were watching thier daddy getting pummeled and I found myself wanting to kneel and pray right there in grief for them. A year ago, I would have walked away and not given it a thought.
I have hope, so do you. Our job is to share it with other people.

Mark said...

Thanks for visiting my place and offering your comments. I must say I have rarely beeen so moved as I have been from reading several of your posts. You are truly an inspiration to all of us who sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. You have gone through so much more than I and have handled it with...yes...I will say it. The patience of Job.

Seeker said...

God's grace is truly incredible! I am blessed by Him, no matter my circumstances. I need to keep trusting Him.
It's good to remember that whatever He pleases, He does. And it's all for His glory.

ellen said...

In university, I took a course entitled, "Job and the Wisdom Literature," but I have never understood the book as clearly as I have since being told that my cancer is back and incurable. I have placed my soul and my fate in God's hands.

I'm not angry at God. I'm angry at people who abuse their bodies with drugs, drive drunk, smoke, and otherwise take terrible risks with the precious vessels with which they have been entrusted. How can they be so careless with themselves, when I am fighting so hard for my life?

curious servant said...

Ellen, I haven't been able to find your blog again, but I wanted to tell you that I am grateful for your previous visits and comments. I have prayed for your a couple of times when you came to mind.

Thank you for your kind words.

God bless.

Joash Chan said...

A message well delivered, my friend. Simply beautiful. This is a very important message people are missing. Thanks. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

BHGA said...

You continue to bless my life with the wisdom and words He brings forth in you....beautiful and thought provoking....thank you for continuing faithfully in this, your journey with Him. God Bless

Anonymous said...

I too, just discovered this blog and must join in the "well saids" after reading this posting.

Grasping that God understands my failings, is with me in my pain, and always takes me back when I mess up was an eye-opener and a life-changer for me. I came to realize that for years, I had really misunderstood the character of God.

I share with you the longing to love like Jesus loves. Congratulations on what is really a ministry here, a blessing to God and his people.

Grace and Peace,

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

This is a nice blog.

Bruce said...

I must agree with everyone who has already commented here...this is a well writen piece. You talk about Job being so much more full of joy in the second half of his life than the first, but isn't that the way we all are? We never really appreciate what we have until it's gone, whether that is our health, our family, our "riches," or whatever. The ONLY thing that is consistent in this life is God's love for us, but because of our focus on the externals we fail to see what His love means to us, and for us. Thanks for putting perspective on life.


Anonymous said...

I have a bit of a different way of seeing this, I think. Not that I completely understand EVERYTHING, mind you; but I view things quite differently since a little over a year ago, God opened my eyes to His complete sovereignty - over ALL things.

According to Scripture, God is not standing by to merely passively 'allow' events to occur in our lives - as if tragedies, etc come as complete surprise to Him. He orchestrates, He sends, He causes. By 'allowing,' He ultimately sends. The things that happened to Job were not a result of sin in his life, not sent as discipline - as Scripture says that Job was a 'blameless, upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.'

Satan was used by God - and subject to His authority - as indicated by his having to ask God's permission. But ULTIMATELY, it is God.

Also Job recognizes God's sovereignty in all this, as he says:

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Job 1:21

Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Job 13:15

"As God lives, who has taken away my right, And the Almighty, who has embittered my soul, For as long as life is in me, And the breath of God is in my nostrils, My lips certainly will not speak unjustly, Nor will my tongue mutter deceit." Job 27:2-4

Job acknowledges God as the source; he never 'blames' Satan.

Now, not that recognizing God as the ultimate authority and sovereign makes events 'pleasant' or easy to endure. It does not. However, KNOWING that all things are from God's hands, and not random, brings underlying comfort, as I am His creation, His child, and He will accomplishes His purposes in my life. And ultimately, it is about Him, and not me.

Sorry to ramble so!

A thinker said...

yeah. . .amen!

curious servant said...

Interesting points, Gayla. Though God does have ultimate authority, that is not to be confused with Him directing all that occurs.

He has authority over Satan, but permits Satan to act according to how the Deceiver wishes to act.

I believe we were created for a relationship with God. He is pure love and wishes to love us and for us to feel that love. But we are fallen. We choose to do things that are not according to God's will.

Just because God is omnipotent does not mean that He can do all things. He cannot sin. He cannot be less than He is.

We are free to choose our own paths. None of the things that happen are a surprise to Him, but that does not mean that He caused them to happen. Look at God's conversations with men and you will find that He is often displeased by our actions, that not all things are according to what He desires.

I think it is a mistake to say that He is the author of all things.

Consider the universe, I mean our four dimensional universe (we'll set quantum physics aside for now), as a complete thing, an artifact. It occupies space (three dimensions) and time and from God's perspective is a whole, not a now and then and will be. There was a beginning of the universe and He "sees" it as a part of the whole because He is outside of time (again we’ll avoid getting into multidimensional universe concepts for now). There is also an end to the universe, when the laws of physics that we know are set aside (whether that is a time far, far ahead and of infinite cold and entropy, or a time a little nearer of a "Big Crunch"). At any rate, He also sees the end. It is a whole to Him, the entire existence of all things are contained within Him. Picture the universe as a loaf of bread, and every moment throughout it's existence from the beginning (one end of the loaf) to the other, the end, is time, and the moments of time as we experience them are infinitely thin slices of that loaf. We are living on one of those slices, but He sees the heels of the loaf, as well as the next slice, and the slice after that.

He knew all of us before the world began. That is different than any other being. Even the angels are stuck within the dimensions of time within our universe (or why would Satan think that he could win, why try to tempt our Lord?) But not our creator. He knows how it will all work out, and He prefers to have His creation make some of the minor choices that govern their own lives.

His knowing how it all turns out does not mean that He orchestrated the entire thing. We are not puppets on strings, and neither is Satan. We have choices. Our choices. But we are responsible for them.

But here is the good news:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." --Romans 8:28

He can make good of anything. ANYTHING!

Thank you so much for this discussion. I truly appreciate it.

In general I look at the Book of Job through the framework of the heart. This is because I feel that it is in the heart that the Lord works primarily in men's lives. (And where we need the most help!)

Job is a wonderful story because the man was faithful, even though he suffered and he knew that God could do anything, incluiding ending his suffering, including undoing the evil that had been done.

The story of Job is about being obedient. It is about loving our Lord because a man (and woman) can recognize that there is a creator, and that there is a plan, and that even though we suffer we feel the tug of a larger spirit, urging us to follow our hearts.

So, that is where, in general, I go when I think about the Book of Job. But the mind is also a gift from God and I love things of the mind, as long as they work toward God's work in the hearts of men.

God bless you and may you always feel that He is near.


Anonymous said...

Good thoughts, C.S. but I'm gonna counter some of 'em. But hey, if you've read my blog for any length of time, you know I love a good discussion! :) Plus, I'm not really a proponent of simply giving 'my' opinion, b/c basically it's pretty worthless - in light of the Word of God. Gotta bend my stubborn will to His.

"He has authority over Satan, but permits Satan to act according to how the Deceiver wishes to act."

I'm not sure I'm with you on this one. Satan has already been defeated, obviously. He is under the complete authority and control of God. That means he can do nothing apart from God. Period. There is certainly nothing in Scripture to indicate that he does whatever he pleases. Even in Job, he is given specific parameters by which he must act:

Job 1:12
Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him."

Job 2:6
So the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life."

Daniel 4:35
"All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him,'What have You done?'

Again, we tend to operate under the mistaken notion that it's about us - that He exists for 'us.' Reality is that we are His creation, and He does what 'He' pleases. (Psalm 115:3)

Additionally, He intervenes as 'He' wills - for example this account in Genesis 20:

But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married. (vs 3)

Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. (vs 6)

God TOLD a man that He wasn't going to allow him to sin. That's some powerful divine intervention.

Psalm 24:1 sums it up pretty well:

The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.

God's sovereignty was a difficult concept to wrap my brain around when He first exposed me to it a year ago. He is either sovereign or He is not. (which entails more than omnipotence) To assert that He is not sovereign, implies that there is something in the universe more powerful than He. Fortunately for us, that's not the case. The God who spoke the universe into existence and keeps it spinning, is more than capable of accomplishing His purposes.

"I think it is a mistake to say that He is the author of all things."

Yikes! We're doomed if He isn't. But we're not, as He is The Creator. As John 1:3 says:

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

And Romans 11:36:
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

He is indeed the author of all things.

As far as the puppet argument goes, based on Scripture (the Pauline epistles, especially Romans), we are either in darkness (unsaved, slaves to sin) or we are called by God as His children (saved, children of Light, slaves to God). By virtue of being born into with a sin nature into a sinful world, we either serve satan or we serve the Lord. So I would ask (generally speaking): who do you want pulling your strings?

Anyway, there's so much more, but I'm rambling again. :)

curious servant said...

Instead of getting into a scripture duel... I think I'll step back for a little while and think over what you have shared.

Perhaps someone else would like to share their perspective?

Seeker said...

God's will has two parts: His sovereign will and His moral will. In His sovereign will He does all things; creating, sustaining, choosing (predestination), saving, judging. In His moral will He allows us to participate; making choices. If I am saved, that is God's sovereign will. As a saved person, within His moral boundaries, I am free to make choices, any number of which are good choices (as long as they are within His moral boundaries). As a saved person, I am also free to make choices outside of His moral will. If I do, I sin. An unsaved person is a slave to sin, and has no choice but to sin. A saved person has a choice whether to participate in God's moral will or not.

Anonymous said...

wow! i just came from KC's blog and here's a repeat. i'm really fascinated with the different views people have.

i see job's life as an inspiration. after the tribulation in his life came abundant blessings because his faith didn't waver. he didn't understand why those events happened to him but He continued to trust God. Our God is truly faithful!

Hikingalong said...

Curious...I see Job's tale coming to a close. God is working wonders in your life. I wonder where He'll take you next. Thanks for this post. All I can say is Amen...selah.

Lucy Stern said...

The world can be a sad, hurtful place, BUT it can also be a very happy place. It's all in the minds eye and how you handle things. What we must always realize is that we need to put our trust in the Lord. We need to follow his commandments and then allow him to carry us in troubled times. I try to work on the positive side of life. I know that the Lord blesses me and I am grateful for all he has given me. Enjoyed your post.

curious servant said...

I don't see it closing for a while yet. There is still so much to say, to share.

I have backed off the previous topic a bit to allow the recent events to work in my heart before I share them.

The Book of Job has so much that can be discussed. For example, there are literary elements that I find interesting, and I know many of my readers would find controversial.

I am also much concerned about some other issues surrounding this book. The above concepts are a good example of the antinomy often found within our faith. There are concepts in the Word that seem to oppose or contradict each other, but are equally true. I feel that to embrace one at the expense of the other pushes our faith out of balance.

And I am concerned how that appears to nonbelievers. As this post suggests, the eyes of humanity look at our world and wonder “Where is God?” And, though it isn’t pleasant to think about it, sometimes they look at believers and wonder the same thing.

I love to read and learn and think and pull ideas together. But when I have eaten a full meal of intellectual debate my soul sometimes feels empty or anxious.

The issues of the heart are much more important.

In the last few days I have had a number of nonbelievers looking at this blog. Many of them are coming from a site that examines some very difficult issues, including the strong desire for children and questions about sexual identity.

I want those people to know about love. I want those people to know that people care.

Now I am not looking to put a damper on the above debate about God’s sovereignty or Man’s free will. But we need to remember that there are lost people in the world. And though I want to see them come to know my Lord, I also just want them to know that people care about them... about what happens to them, about their struggles and pain and desires and aches.

So, no, I am not finished with this blog.

I could talk about the patterns within the writing of the book of Job, or the implications of modern physics and the Christian faith. I have things I wish to share yet about my children and my life.

But I want to make sure it keeps coming back to the central fact of all creation.

There is a creator, and He is not only a being of pure love, but He loves each of us with an intensity and consistency that is supernatural.

jollybeggar said...

this is good. we need to take the heavy questions to the mat.

to the topics of pain and suffering and the story of job, i find myself returning regularly. they are often at the heart of many people's decision to not believe.

however, defaulting to God being the 'author of all things' is placing him directly responsible for all manner of calamity, lawlessness, exploitation and human pain. satan would love for us to see God in this way because the natural outcome of this view is a theological fallacy... believing God is someone that he isn't.

God is the author of all GOOD things. satan has twisted and perverted God's story in order to rob God of the glory that is God's and God's alone by filling our heads with all sorts of bad pictures of who God is.

we must be careful to remember who ultimately ushered suffering into this life- humankind with its need to control and 'be like God' as we read in genesis3. and who talked us into it? not satan, he simply asked the right questions. we talked ourselves into oblivion.

and God, in his love, allowed us to make decisions that would destroy us, severing the relationship between ourselves and the giver of life and all goodness.

awful things happen, not as a surprise to God but as a tragic reminder to God of our willful rebellion and its causal outcomes. the spiritual and the physical were united until we rent them apart in our quest for dominion. having chosen in his omnipotence to abide by our will, God watches us venture down the dark 'alleyways of strife' instead of walking with us through his garden.

miracles come about when God choses to interrupt the natural cycles and laws that he has set in place to govern and perpetually maintain the physical cosmos. he does, however, perform a lot of miracles that we, in our 'empirical wisdom' turn our backs to and explain away as coincidence rather than co-incidence. this does not, however, keep God from pouring his goodness into a world peopled by spiritual insurgents- it simply robs him of the glory in direct opposition to the words of that old hymn

'so give him the glory, great things he hath done...'

i'm sorry to have gone on and on, curious servant. thank you for opening up this dialogue and inviting discourse.

two years ago i lost two brothers-in-law in three months to seperate car accidents, one a 'mysterious' collision with a semi and one (along with his new wife of two five months) to a drunk driver.

in that time my wife's dad mentioned many times that he felt like job... and continued to white knuckle his faith through the pain.

in that time i also heard a lot of bad theology from well-intentioned people about God's part in personal pain: "God has a plan for our lives and clearly his plan for [brother-in-law and his wife] was that it was their time..."

balderdash! (can't believe i typed that, but i don't want to bring the conversation down by using a stronger expression) if this is the way God does things then i find myself wondering which of my relatives are next in this systematic wiping out of a family.

however, finally after going through stages of mourning etc a truth came through... God chooses to redeem the lost; to make all things new; to be glorified even in times of our greatest pain because he is God and this means justice and love, not random infliction. he can bring peace and power and freedom in anything this world can throw at us if i turn to him for it. in a world that seemed to be crumbling around me, the only thing that remained changeless was who God was- although his face became clearer.

blessings and shalom

hanni said...

Have you thought of having this published as a book? You have a really powerful testimony here. I think it would impact a lot of people. It has been very helpful (and a little painful) for me. Thank you very much for sharing your story.

jollybeggar said...

the best pain we can experience is vicarious, yeah? i mean, if we can learn from the pain endured by others then we have some tools there to cope with heartbreak when it comes knocking...


hazelorbs said...

i totally agree...although sometimes i tend to forget these truths (okay, more often than not). it's so easy to blame and question god for everything negative and painful...we have to be reminded again and again that there will be beauty discovered through the tragedy.

i wrote, or i should say, someone else wrote and i posted it, on my blog about Job 38.

curious servant said...

I love this passage! (Perhaps I should do a post on it.)

It is true that here the Lord is nailing job on his questions, and Job responds appropriately... but there is something else as well.

We have the creator of the universe telling a human being about the responsibilities of being God!

Amazing! It isn't simply a matter of the Lord being offended by a subordinate. It is the Lord expanding Job's understanding of creation and the mighty things that are on His mind.

Amazing that even after the Fall He wants to converse with us about things that are so weighty, so deep.

Job responds in humility, recognizing the power and the majesty and the wonder of the Lord God Almighty, the great I AM.

An Ordinary Christian said...

Suffering helps us live in a different realm than the flesh and the "here and now." Also, the Bible says, "he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin." Suffering purifies, separates us from this world, but only suffering allowed/"orchestrated" if you will by God. Not a self-imposed sort of suffering. "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn."
BTW, I kind of wonder why pastors/people say that they can't understand suffering. Well, I suppose a bit of that is true, but really, can we not move on to maturity, going beyond the elementary teachings of Christ? Suffering is universal, and sometimes it is really, really bad. But it has always been here. God allows it. It's got to have a spiritual purpose. He wouldn't put us through all that for nothin'. Just a thought.

Kitty Cheng said...

What a wonderful post, and awesome site you have here! I agree that suffering certainly helps us to have a greater perspective in life. Job set a great example for us didn't her?

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

God Bless!

van.diesel said...

There has been some really good discussion here. Great post and I've also enjoyed reading the dialogue. Keep pressing on.

Pirate said...

So timely brother. So many take satan's advice in time of despair and turn away from his eternal gift. The love he has for us is there for all for the asking and yet so many look at the destruction in this world and deny themselves so much Job didn't.

Little Boy said...

hi my friend...
thanks a lot for your comment. you are right about our countries! I am so busy and I don't have time to update my blog. I wish I could spend alot more time on it.
best regards .::SINA::.

Ron said...


Thanks for your comments on my blog recently. I have added a recent devotional to it, so I gladly invite you to visit and leave your insightful comments!

Kitty Cheng said...

God Bless you! Reading all these comments bless me heaps!

bjk said...

"I love to read and learn and think and pull ideas together. But when I have eaten a full meal of intellectual debate my soul sometimes feels empty or anxious.

The issues of the heart are much more important."

Can I quote you....I love what you are saying here and have wondered HOW to say it....??

music.angel said...

i agree. great discussions. Curious, you are on an amazing journey and reading about where God is taking you has encouraged me much. Suffering and God's Sovereignty is a large subject but one with great hope and peace when searched out. I'm at a place in life where suffering is home to me, it's a sad time of life. God's sovereignty keeps me going, keeps me 'pressing on' as Van.Diesel said. So I agree, press on and know many people are praying for you and your family...

music.angel said...

jollybeggar, my heart breaks for what your family has been through. to hear stories as these puts my 'problems' in perspective. but, to say that satan has "twisted and perverted God's story in order to rob God of the glory" is to say there are some things that are out of God's control. This scares the begeebees out of me to even think of. To think at any moment satan can act as he wills is terrifying. Hurricanes, disasters and wars are frightening but knowing the God is pulling the strings is my comfort. Romans 11:36 says "For FROM Him and THROUGH Him and TO Him are all things". I am not meant to understand it, but trust it and although my finite mind can't understand it i can REST in an all knowing God to explain it to me when i one day am in His presence. It's hard to accept but we're just not going to get our minds around everything while here on earth. If we could we wouldn't need a Savior b/c we'd know it all. This is one of those places I do believe God calls us to trust Him in spite of overwhelming grief and suffering. To say "every good and perfect gift comes from above". To look up the greek here is to see that it actually translates "every gift is good and perfect coming from above". Everything that enters our life is for our good and God's glory. And as 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, "But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere." Through us, amazing...simply amazing that He uses US to spread the fragrance of Him. I stand in awe.

Gayla, you've laid out great points and impressively backed it up with scripture. as you said it is a hard subject to wrap our minds around but I too believe Scripture is clear about these subjects and although our "feelings" can say otherwise when our minds can't understand it we are promised a "peace that passes understanding" so in that i rest. Thanks for your thoughts.

Seeker...i'd be interested to know the scriptures that back up those ideas.

This is a great discussion as i said before. Couldn't help posting another comment with some of my own thoughts and ramblings.

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