Lent 07: Day 15 – Inexplicable Occurrences

Work was frustrating today. I kept finding program problems that when corrected required me to redo many of the screen shots and explanations in the documentation I am writing. It feels like you have redo what you have just done, over and over.

That’s the nature of some of the most frustrating aspects of life. Routine maintenance is one thing, but cleaning up unexpected messes that keep happening is another. It is a trial that most us of fail more often than not. We have just gone through a rash of car related problems, little frustrations and minor accidents that, while really no one’s fault, drain your resources and I am not just talking about money, because they take up time and energy that you wanted to put to other uses.

This has gotten me to thinking about forgiveness and its relationship to trust and love. When things start going wrong, most people turn to God and ask why, even the marginally religious. Depending on your trust and faith, or lack thereof, in your Creator, you may ask angrily and accusingly, or perplexed, or just to know what to do next.

This difference is nicely illustrated in the contrast between Job and his wife. Job wants to know when it will all end, though admitting that God has the right to do whatever he wants. His wife says, “Curse God and die!” She is angry over her loses and blames Job and God. Job is perplexed, but trusts God to look after his welfare in the end. He says:

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God… Job 19:25-26

When something painful happens to us that we believe is not our fault, our first response is to find someone/something on which to place the responsibility. We quickly get caught in a cycle of upset and anger and if we are Christian, one way to deal with that is to find the cause, because if we can identify where the responsibility lies, then we can at least try to exercise the cleansing balm of forgiveness.

However, if no one is obviously responsible, we, like Job, are left with only one place to put the responsibility, on God. That creates a real problem. God doesn’t need forgiveness. So, we arrive at the same impasse faced by Job and his wife. The road narrows considerably and we are left with two options: acceptance and swallowing our upset or blaming God and whoever else is handy.

There is a section of 1 Corinthians 13 that applies to this moment:

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Job bore what happened, believed that God still was working toward his best interests, looked forward to the hope of his resurrection, and in the end endured the trial to the end. His wife failed.

Sometimes there is no place to exercise forgiveness, no place to place blame, instead we must exercise trust and hope, bear up under the trial and endure it to the end. That is hard, often very hard, sometimes it brings us to the very precipice of our faith. But God has his purposes and in the end we have to come to terms with that.

May God grant you the grace and peace you need to deal with the inexplicable occurrences in life, and may he give you the wisdom to see his hand guiding everything to your eventual and eternal good.

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