Posted by: everynation | October 4, 2009

The Blame Game

steve murrellby Steve Murrell

It has been one week since Typhoon Ondoy baptized Manila in chaos – destroying homes and displacing 2 million people.

While thousands of ordinary people were generously giving and sacrificially serving those in need, others were busy playing the blame game. According to the blame-fixers, those responsible for the floods include: President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the mayors, the senate, the congress, all sinners, God, the devil, Al Gore (the inventor of global warming), Osama bin Laden, Abu Sayyaf, Ahmajinedad, Gaddafi, Kanye West and former US president Bush (poor guy gets blamed for everything).

On my Nashville to Manila flight a couple of days ago – in order to gain some insights about suffering – I read the whole book of Job, the story of a man who lost it all, then some.

Here are my random Job notes from 30,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

1. Bad things happen to seemingly good and innocent people. Four times Job is described as “blameless and upright” yet he experienced horrible suffering.

2. The devil is real and he comes to “steal, kill and destroy.” Chapter 1 makes it clear that all Job’s pain and loss was an act of the devil, not an act of God.

3. People experiencing bad times need good friends. When you have friends who are suffering, try doing what Job’s friends did in Job 2:13 “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”

4. Good friends often give bad counsel. Unfortunately, after that week of silence, Job’s friends opened their mouths and stuck both feet in, nasty shoes and all.

5. Some things can’t be explained and some “why?” questions can’t be answered. The book of Job never answers the “why?” question. But is does paint a good picture of “how” – how to find God in our pain and how to respond to calamity.

6. We can find God in our pain and loss, if we do what Job did when he realized the extent of his loss – “then he fell to the ground in worship…” Do we only worship God in the good times?

7. In the end, the blessing of God caught up with and overtook Job. Most people don’t press through and read the whole book of Job. But if you endure til the end, you will find that “the Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former.” Job 42:12 And if we endure past our pain, we will find God in the end.

Steve Murrell is a missionary, pastor, and the author of “The Reluctant Leader” and “The Accidental Missionary.”

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