Putting God in a Box

Today I read Job 14-16. I find it interesting how our good intentions to help can many times end up being a disaster. Here you have Job who is going through misery in just about every aspect of his life. He lost his kids, his house, his servants, his health. He has his wife tell him he should just curse God and die. He is going through every loss imaginable and now his friends are stepping in to set him straight on his theology. I almost wonder if they were doing it out of concern for him or in an effort to convince themselves that the right answers still applied given all that Job had gone through. On the surface there was no reason Job should have gone through what he did. He was righteous and lived the life God commanded in every way. Yet even with that, Job experiences all of these losses and pain. The formula didn’t add up. It shouldn’t have been that way. God should have been blessing this guy or at a bear minimum protecting him. Yet here sat Job the guy whose life circumstance couldn’t be answered easily with the standard lines of reason.

To make matters worse, this guy starts challenging the pat answers and points out the seeming injustice of the whole situation. When your world is built on your ability to understand it and have answers for all the anomalies the last thing you want is someone to challenge those answers. What if they are found wrong? How will you explain life? The problem was his friends put their faith and ability to navigate life in their answers not in God. This is a very dangerous place to live because putting your faith in your own understanding and having the right answers makes your faith vulnerable because it only takes one circumstance that you can’t explain to cause you to doubt and ditch your faith. This is what I see all the time in people who want to debate and fight over theological systems of thought. There is a desperation and anger in many cases with anyone who threatens the system. We have seen it though the centuries as men have murdered others over cries of heresy or fiercely ruined reputations and fortunes because the ideas that were shared were threatening. I believe that our faith should be in God and him alone. Our understanding does come from his Word and can be understood and applied. But when it comes to understanding God’s reasons for allowing things or working miracles, that is the realm we can’t enter because there is no way to fathom God’s thoughts. When our understanding of God’s reasons and our answers become more important that simply trusting God’s heart, we have wandered to a place of living under our own control dressed up in theological reasons and answers. There is value in having some answers or thoughts on why things happen but when those thoughts HAVE to apply in all cases, we put God in a box of our own creation, a box he refuses to stay in.

Lord, help me not to put you in a box. I want to be in awe of you every step of my life. Please help me to let go of my attempts to explain everything you do and trust you more. Let me faith be evident in my life and please help me to seek you every step of the way. I want to follow you with all I’ve got. Amen.
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