Thursday, January 8, 2009

Great Imagination!

Throughout my life, my wise mother has cautioned me with the following warning: imagination is the biggest nation in the world.

Many times I've heard people "imagine" that God was punishing them for something because life seemed to be dealing them a dirty hand. I've probably had the same imagining once or twice myself if I'm honest.

Job imagined that to be the case in his life, but he was very wrong. In chapters 14-16, he continues to lament his circumstances and listen to his far-from-helpful friends. In verse 9 of chapter 16, he even supposes that God hates him--but that is quite far from the truth. The Bible explicitly tells us that Job had found favor in God's eyes, and that he was actually quite special to The Lord. The truth of Job's situation was that Satan was responsible for all of his suffering, but that God had allowed it.

How does one explain this? Is the account of Job's suffering merely an allegory as some have suggested, or was he a real person who actually endured all that is recorded in the book that bears his name? Both Ezekiel chapter 14 and James chapter 5 refer to Job not as a fictitious character, but as a real person. That would have been atypical in either of these references and renders the prospect unlikely. Maybe then, part of the reason that God allowed this very tragic situation to play out in Job's life was for your benefit and mine. In Job, we discover many things about God, not the least of which is that if or when we are feeling unloved or picked on by him, that is usually a vain imagining.

I believe there are some questions that will have to wait for heaven--questions that have no satisfying answers. That does not, however, diminish my confidence in a loving, gracious God who does have an answer, even when he chooses not to reveal it immediately.

Job imagined something to be true that wasn't. Sometimes, I imagine things too, only to discover later that my imagination was indeed, the biggest nation.

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