Pristine Grace

The Good Hurt
by John Pedersen
The Good Hurt

     It is a natural and common thing to extrapolate the will of God by observing circumstances and events: "God is teaching you a lesson", or, "If you had not done X, this would not be happening to you.", or, "See how God has blessed so-and-so because of his faithfulness and hard work". These and other like expressions are typical among folk. 

     Job's "friends" (Elihu excepted) are a prime biblical example of this practice. Job experienced great trial in circumstance, losing his possessions, his children, and even his health. His "comforters" responded with repeated expressions of the same thing: God must be punishing you for some sin. You are hiding something. If you were on the up-and-up, this would not be happening to you, because God keeps his people from such things, etc.. 

     The truth is no one can "read" the will of God through circumstance, as an astrologer would "read" the stars, or a fortune- teller would read the palm of someone's hand. God has revealed Himself in His Word, the revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ. We respond to circumstances and events with a mind and conscience informed by this revelation, but we can not derive conclusions about the mind and will of God by the events and circumstances themselves. 

     Consider Job 23:8-17. Job testifies: "Look, I go forward , but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him. When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I can not see Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food..." . 

     Job's testimony is exemplary: We do not know the mind of God by our conditions, but by His Word. By His gospel, the Christian may have confidence as to God's will and view his circumstances accordingly. 

     By His Word, we know He knows us, and the way we take (Indeed, in his subsequent words, Job further discloses the nature of God's knowledge of our ways is His active and sovereign providence: "For He performs what is appointed for me...", 23:14).

     God's "knowledge" of us and of our ways is more than mere awareness; it is His love. Whatever happens, every Christian may confidently know he is loved for Jesus' sake, and the events and circumstances of his experience are dealt to him in love, and to the following end: 

"...when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.". Job 23:10.