I've been reading Job. Actually, I've been listening to it on CD, but that counts I think, especially since that how the first several millennia of God's people would have accessed the book. It's remarkable to hear it aloud--things fit together in whole new ways. Anyway, Ron Allen thinks the goal of the book is to demonstrate that God is free. He does as he wills. The wicked suffer, yet so do the righteous and both are sometimes blessed. "Why" isn't answered. I'm not sure it can be. God chooses, that seems to be all we're given, except for the ever-important caveat so well understood by Mr. Beaver: He is good.
I've been thinking a lot about this lately--this idea of sovereignty and the way my impression of it has changed quite a bit. After all, God claims outright in his words to Moses in Exodus 4 that it is he who makes man deaf or mute or seeing or blind. He tells us in Job 38 that the lightning reports to him. We don't really believe this. We work really hard to understand a hurricane in the Gulf or an earthquake in Kashmir. We want to believe God would judge with one but not the other. We want to believe he had nothing to do with it. We'll accept his hand if we can see a reason. But we don't get a reason. The lightning reports to him. He doesn't owe us a reason.
Do you remember a coach or teacher or leader who ever pushed you past your breaking point? Do you recall a time when you could take no more and then you took more and you were angry and even a little bitter. But, you looked back later and saw that not only did you not break, you excelled? Suddenly, months later, you noticed that you don't get tired after the first mile or you understand more than you ever realized or you accomplished something you hadn't imagined? Then, that person became your favorite coach, your favorite teacher.
How come we get so bent out of shape when God does exactly that and he spends much of his Word telling us that he's going to do it? We whine every time, only we don't get over it so easy. We may not ever see the result. Practice doesn't end. Class doesn't dismiss. Life is practice. Only when it ends will we finally understand. Maybe the bitterness will last until then, but it will someday go away. Someday, this ends and He will become our favorite teacher. Maybe He is already...