shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?

“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” Job 2:10b (ESV)

It’s a very good question. And one not easily answered.

Job discovers he has just lost all that he owns together with his children in a series of catastrophes. The extent of his suffering is beyond comprehension.

Interestingly, the devastation is probably not unlike that caused by the tornados tearing through Oklahama these past few weeks.

But to then to top it all off, poor Job suffers a horribly painful skin disease.

I wonder how I would react if I was faced with devastating loss and debilitating sickness? Would I curse God as Satan predicts? (Job 1:11, 2:5)

I think we often take our lives, and each other, for granted. Forgetting how truly blessed we are.

Each day is so precious. Each moment worth savouring. Especially when it’s shared with loved ones.

As Job quite rightly points out, God is sovereign over everything: the good and the bad.

Whilst we may not understand why, we should not think of Him as only providing prosperity and abundance.

Just because we are Christians does not mean life is a “bed of roses” (attributed to Christopher Marlowe: The Passionate Shepherd To His Love, 1599).

We are naive to expect that evil will be cursed and goodness blessed.

“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)

Armed with this knowledge, how will we respond no matter what our circumstances?

Kim+

prayer : “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

action : read a Psalm every night before bed

sin when it is fully grown brings forth death

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1:14-15 (ESV)

How easy is it to give into our sinful “desires”?

The voice inside our head says it’s OK. Just this once. It’s not hurting anyone.

Yet it’s a slow and steady progression:

“Temptation. Desire. Conception. Birth. Growth. Death.”

Deep down inside we know its wrong. Perhaps we struggle a little. Perhaps we struggle a lot.

But the greed, the overwhelming lust, the all-consuming “desire” responds to the temptation by shrugging off those feelings of guilt. Putting them aside whilst we indulge in the sinful pleasure.

Unfortunately, this habitual sin is leading us down a steep and slippery path to oblivion.

Turning our back on God and choosing to follow our idols, whatever they may be, leads to death.

All are guilty. Yes, even me. No one can claim righteousness. No one is blameless (Romans 3:10-12).

Yet God has graciously provided us with a saviour. Someone who has already stood in our place and received the punishment we so justly deserve.

It’s a difficult concept to comprehend. And even harder to accept.

But this doesn’t make it any less true.

Ponder that as we approach this Easter weekend.

Kim+

prayer : that God would grant me mercy and strength

action : share the message of Easter this weekend

[God] tempts no one

‘Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.’ James 1:13 (ESV)

It’s a natural instinct to blame anything or anyone for what happens to us.

We so often think that circumstances are out of our control. That life has it “in for us”. That God is making us suffer.

And yes. He is sovereign. The Almighty Creator is the one pulling the strings of this universe.

Yet He does not manipulate situations to put us in harms way. To force us to choose between good and evil.

We do that to ourselves. Following our own selfish desires.

By giving us “free will” He permits us to make a choice between what is right and what is wrong.

But we shouldn’t blame Him for that. Instead, we should simply pray, as Jesus taught us:

“And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:13 (ESV)

He will provide us a “way out”. We just need to recognise the exit.

Kim+

prayer : The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)

action : examine my own heart and desires