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April 18, 1992

Handling the Inexplicable Hardships of Life (Part One)

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Then Job replied: “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales!” JOB 6:1-2
Many times, life does not work out as we think it should. Situations and circumstances are complicated, confusing, and difficult. We sometimes feel as if we are main characters in a mystery that is never solved.
The Book of Job shows us that it is clearly OK to ask why such things happen. In fact, asking such questions is a part of what it means to be human. The psalmist asked why. The prophets asked why. The disciples asked why.
It’s OK to ask why. But it’s not OK to slam our fists down on the table and arrogantly proclaim, “I demand an answer.”
Sometimes we do get answers, although they don’t always fit into the boxes we have prepared. Remember the reaction Jesus’ disciples had when they saw a man who had been born blind? “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” they asked Jesus (John 9:2). His response was totally unexpected: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned . . . but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (v. 3).
It’s easy to see how the work of God could be displayed in the blind man’s life—all Jesus had to do was heal him (which He did). But what about the inexplicable hardships we face today? Jesus doesn’t work in the cubicle next to us; He’s not likely to appear in person and perform a miracle in front of everyone.
But that doesn’t mean His work can’t be displayed in our lives. It’s displayed when we give God credit for the peace we’re feeling as we walk through a valley. It’s displayed when our coworkers ask how we can remain so calm when our world is falling apart and we tell them. It’s displayed when, due to a tragedy or trial in our lives, we experience great spiritual growth.
We may never know why, but if we let Him, God will use the troubles and tests He allows in our lives to draw us closer to Him and make us more like Him. And shouldn’t that be our ultimate goal?

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