God did not take away Job’s wealth and position, or his loved ones, health, and wellbeing. That was not God. That was Satan. We must avoid jumping to false assumptions about what God does.
I do not believe that God is in the business of robbing people, killing their loved ones, or taking away their health and wellbeing. Let’s look at three things God does:
God allows us to live in and suffer through an imperfect world in which we are free to make our own choices that have consequences.
- God allowed Job, a good and righteous man, to learn that he had a wee problem with self-righteousness.
- God allowed Jacob, the deceiver of his brother and father, to be deceived by his uncle and experience what it was like to be hoodwinked and taken advantage of.
- God allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery and pruned of his spoiled selfishness.
- God allowed Naomi to lose her sons and experience her daughter-in-law’s great love and loyalty.
- God allowed Peter to crumble like sand under pressure and deny Jesus three times before learning about God’s willingness not only to forgive him but give him the grace to become a rock of faith.
- God allowed Paul to suffer with a thorn in the flesh that taught him humility.
- We learn the most from the toughest teachers in life. Let’s read this thought-provoking poem by Robert Browning Hamilton:
I Walked a mile with Pleasure,
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.
God arouses our conscience through the presence and power of His Holy Spirit when we do what is wrong, just as David’s aroused conscience took away the joy of his salvation.
We need to pray each and every day, asking God to expose any attitudes and habits that we need to confess and correct. I always like to go through my list of sinful tendencies that I need to confess and make sure I correct each day.
I believe one of the best signs that we have opened up our lives to Christ is when we do wrong, we are convicted of our sin that robs us of peace and joy. Christians cannot “En-Joy” sin. If Christ has become an integral part of our heart, soul, mind, and body – and we can say with Paul, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20) – then we will be conscience-stricken whenever we sin. If we are not conscience-stricken, if the Spirit of Christ is not “working within and on us,” then He is not a part of us.
God advises us to open and read the Bible. We need to read our Bible with an openness and eagerness for God to show us what we need to know and do! Many people have been disciplined by God while reading the Bible.
We also need to listen to good and godly people with an open mind, friends who will not hesitate to tell us the truth about ourselves – and challenge us to be better than we are. Everyone needs a friend who will tell us what we don’t want to hear, but need to hear.
God sent Nathan (II Samuel 12) to confront David with his sins. We then read: “David responded to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Then Nathan replied to David, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die. However, because you treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son born to you will die’” (II Samuel 12:13-14).
How well-disciplined are we?