Hope in Self, or God? (II)

Even if we believe strongly in Him, when we experience severe loss, one of our first responses is to blame God. Sometimes, like Job, our closeness with God gives us that right; we feel secure enough in our relationship.

Job’s story describes how the most successful man of his time loses almost everything of importance. Innocent of wrongdoing, he petitions God to admit he suffers wrongly. He hopes God will respond to his plea of innocence. As he makes that plea, however, he reveals some less than admirable qualities about himself before disaster.

“I decided their course and presided over them; I lived like a king among his troops,” he says in chapter 29. The implications stagger us: not just a king among his people, Job exerted near total control over others. He gave orders–others obeyed. Job’s success elevated his sense of self-importance.

“But now those younger than me deride me,” he continues in chapter 30. “[Men] whose fathers I would have disdained to put among my sheep dogs.” Job chafes from the ridicule of younger people, offspring of those he looked down on. Among Job’s many admirable qualities, therefore (see chapter 31), he also exhibits a smug sense of superiority.

Like Job, after we’ve lost, we may want God (or life) to vindicate our innocent suffering; we may hope in our past, our goodness, our previous power, our Self. What would it take to put our hope in God instead?


About Grose

Gordon Grose loves most to write, speak, and preach on the message of hope from the book of Job. Using drama, video, and PowerPoint, he has preached and presented this message of hope to churches around the country. Grose pastored three congregations 25 years, then served 12 years as a pastoral counselor in a Portland, Oregon counseling clinic. He now serves with Good Samaritan Counseling Services, Beaverton, OR. A graduate of Wheaton College (IL), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Brandeis University, and Boston University, he comes from a rich and varied background in theological and counseling training. In 2015, Gordon published Tragedy Transformed: How Job's Recovery Can Provide Hope For Yours, a book about turning to Job for hope after tragedy. If you have experienced life challenges or personal tragedy, visit his Transforming Tragedy (gordongrose.com) blog to learn more. TragedyTransformed.com provides a sample of Gordon's speaking as well as an opportunity to purchase copies of his book.
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