Bringing Our Hard Questions To God

Steve Arterburn

Life often seems unfair, doesn’t it?  Because of this many men conclude God is unreasonable in his demands.  This is what a man named Job thought.  As you probably remember Job was a man who lost his all of his children, his wealth, his health, and his reputation.  

In the midst of his suffering, Job cried, ‘How frail is humanity! How short is life, and how full of trouble! Like a flower, we blossom for a moment and then wither.  Like the shadow of passing cloud, we quickly disappear.  Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature and demand an accounting from me?  Who can create purity in one born impure?’ (Job 14:1-4).

That’s a good question’one that most of us have asked in one form or another.  Job persisted in his questioning because deep inside he believed God to be good, even though he was suffering terribly.  He was honest with his emotions and questions, but he never stopped seeking God.

Are you suffering?  Have you lost someone you love?  Have you received bad news from the doctor?  Lost your home or job?  While working through the pain and unfairness of life, you may have to be satisfied with trusting God, even though you simply don’t understand.  But be assured’if you trust God and seek him in the hard times, your good Father will respond with blessing and faith.

God’s Word

Steve Arterburn

Not only do you search God’s Word, but it searches you.  Not only do we seek to understand God’s Word, but we need to stand under its authority.

As you read the Bible, you may be tempted to draw back from it soul-searching power.  You may argue with its teaching, resent its discipline, or question its assertions.  But these reactions simply alert you to the fact that God is searching you heart.  At times like these, spiritual renewal comes as you stop and examine not only God’s Word but also your response to it.  

Why are you feeling upset when you’re challenged?  Why is the Bible affecting you in a particular way?  What specific attitudes or behaviors is it addressing?  How does the teaching of God’s Word differ from your way of living?  Questions like these can move you beyond impulsive reactions to spiritually productive reflection.  The psalmist wrote, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life’ (Psalm 139:23-24). That’s a pretty brave prayer, isn’t it?

When you surrender your resistance, you find the grace of Jesus Christ sustaining you.  The very Word that exposes your sin also reveals the remedy for that sin’Jesus, your great High Priest.  Through him you find mercy that removes your sin and power that works through your weakness.

The Detached Role

Steve Arterburn

Tom’s a clerk in a hectic government office.  In the midst of all the daily pressures, he’s regarded as one of the most even-tempered workers in the department.  He’s quiet and efficient, and he never seems to get riled at anything.

Tom spends his energy herding his emotions because he feels they’re his enemy.  Deep inside he believes that his father didn’t like him as a boy because he was too much of a crybaby and a ‘fraidy-cat.’ Since he perceives that he lost his father by being too much of a sissy, Tom isn’t about to expose his emotions as an adult. His controlled emotional detachment also keeps him distant from his wife.  In the past, whenever Tom showed any signs of being troubled, angry, or fearful, she’d ask him what was wrong.  His usual response was a curt, ‘Nothing!’  So she’s learned not to ask.

Detached men like Tom find it difficult to live out the values they profess because they ignore their heart, which is the center from which values come.  Often detached men will become addicted to work, money, football, alcohol, or drugs.

Are you like Tom?  Do you stuff your sense of defeat inside, thinking you should be able to ‘take it?’  Are you emotionally frozen?  Perhaps you’re so dead inside you have little to give a relationship.  Is your spouse enduring a frustrating relationship because you insist on suffering your losses alone?

You can change. Start by connecting with others. Find a safe person that you can talk to. We were meant for connection, not detachment.