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“The Happiness Now is Part of the Pain Later – That’s the Deal”

A Leaf in Autumn     In the movie Shadowlands, Joy, who is in remission from cancer, says to her husband C.S. Lewis, “the happiness now is part of the pain later and that’s the deal.”

How do we make sense out of losing a loved one, going through a divorce, watching a child go astray, losing a job, or discovering we have an incurable disease? Tragedy often opens the door to a dialog of questions directed at God. Why would you take the life of my son, a father, a husband and a brother in the prime of his life? Why didn’t you heal him? I believed you would.

When I went through tragedy, these were some of the questions I asked God. The tragedy numbed my mind, and it has taken years to heal my wounded heart.   But, Job’s insight was a great help to me.

When Job lost everything but his life in a test between God and Satan, he questioned the justice of God. Why would God allow this tragedy when he had lived such a righteous life?   Well-meaning friends gladly offered their two cents as they scrutinized, analyzed and even diagnosed the reasons behind Job’s pain. Tired of their judging and babbling, Job resigns himself to present his case before God. God listens to Job’s reasoning.

In fact, he was asking the very same questions we all ask. Why does it seem like good men suffer instead of evil men? Why are good things robbed from good people while evil people thrive?   God’s longest speech recorded in the Bible (Job 38 – 41) was directed to answering Job, and to us who have suffered great tragedies.

In the midst of answering Job, God asked him a question, and consequently, one that He also asks us. In chapter 40:8 – 9 God asks, “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?”   Job must have felt like a dry leaf in a burning forest. He was in the middle of a debate with the Master of the Universe, Creator of all creation. The fact is, Job did not understand the why behind the test, nor did he ever know that it was a test and we may never know either.   After God assured Job of his power and might, wisdom and love, Job covered his mouth — the whys were no longer important or needed. The wisdom we glean here is that – real faith does not depend upon the blessings of God or fall to our accusations of God’s Divine Providence.   Real faith must rest completely on God’s undeniable Sovereignty and His unquestionable wisdom, knowing that the happiness that we enjoy today may bring us great pain tomorrow. And, that’s the deal.

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