We need to understand that God's "wonderful plan" is wonderful from His perspective, not yours and mine. To us, "wonderful" means comfortable, healthy, all bills paid, no debt, never sick, happily married with two well-behaved children, a fulfilling, well-paying job, and the anticipation of nothing but blessing and success and prosperity forever. That's "wonderful" to us. But God's wonderful plan is not like that.
Insight for Today
Written by Chuck Swindoll, these encouraging devotional thoughts are published seven days per week.
The book of Job is not only a witness to the dignity of suffering and God's presence in our suffering, but it's also our primary biblical protest against religion that has been reduced to explanations or "answers." Many of the answers that Job's so-called friends give him are technically true. But it is the "technical" part that ruins them.
Friends openly express the depth of their feelings. They have ways of doing that, don't they? It's not uncommon to see a friend standing nearby in the hospital room fighting back the tears. It's not unusual for the friend to express deep feelings. Casual acquaintances don't usually do that; genuine friends make their feelings known.
Tragically, many a marriage is bound together by very thin, fragile threads. As tests come—from the in-laws or the children, perhaps a difficulty at birth that leads to defects in a child, or trials and tests in the business or financial realm...whatever—deliberately pull together and determine to hang in there.
Men, I've found that most of us are not hard of hearing; we're hard of listening. Our wives frequently have the most important things to say that we will hear that day, but for some strange reason, we have formed the habit of mentally turning off their counsel.
Job is thinking these thoughts: Doesn't He have the right? Isn't He the Potter? Aren't we the clay? Isn't He the Shepherd and we the sheep? Isn't He the Master and we the servant? Isn't that the way it works?
My wife could tell you that she lived with me for our first 10 years of marriage before she ever thought I needed her. I finally admitted it and learned how to say it. In the lonely hours of a man's great trial, nobody's words mean more to him than his wife's words. That is one of the God-given reasons you and your partner were called to be together. When we husbands lose our way, you wives help us find our way back.
When bad things happen, they often happen to the wrong person. And when that occurs, we're always left with that haunting question, "Why?" Somewhere in all of this, there is room for the story of Job.
We enter the world with our tiny fists clenched, screaming, but we always leave the world with hands open on our silent chests. Naked in, naked out. And in the interlude, "Lord God, blessed be Your name for loaning me everything I'm able to enjoy."
With Job face down in worship to God, the only one cursing is Satan. He hated it! He resented Job's response! Of all things, the man still worships his God—the One who would allow these catastrophes to happen. There wouldn't be one in millions on this earth who would do so, but Job did exactly that.