Archive for August 2009

Seeing Through a Glass Darkly

August 11, 2009
One of my favorite Old Testament scholars is John Goldingay. Recently I read about his wife Ann, who died not too long ago of MS. John teaches at Fuller seminary, and the mostly silent Ann often attended seminary functions in her wheelchair.
In his book, Walk On, John Goldingay shares about his life with God through the journey of Ann’s battle with MS. In his chapter titled Calamity, he shares his thoughts on the book of Job. He writes:
“What we may be able to infer is that calamities do have explanations, even if we do not know what they are, for there is another feature of the story of Job that delights me every time I think about it, not least because it establishes a similarity between Job and us. It is that Job himself never knows about chapters 1 and 2 of “his” book. So he goes through his pain the same way we do. And he illustrates how the fact that we do not know what might explain our suffering, what purpose God might have in it, does not constitute the slightest suggestion that the suffering has no explanation…I cannot imagine the story that makes it okay for God to have made Ann go through what she has been through. But I can imagine that there is such a story.”
It is in the first couple of chapters of Job that Satan approaches God with permission to test Job’s spiritual fiber. I don’t think the author is suggesting that this is the only or even the most frequent reason why believers suffer. I’m guessing that the point the writer of Job is making is very similar to Goldingay’s point: just because we can’t think of any good reason why bad things happen to good people doesn’t mean there aren’t any good reasons. Like John Goldingay says, we can imagine that there are good reasons even if we can’t imagine what they actually are. God is a whole lot smarter than we are, and more importantly, a lot more wise and loving than we are.
Job was never able to figure out why all those things happen to him. I suppose we can’t help but at least try to come up with reasons. But finally, we have to just trust God — the God who reveals himself to the life, death and resurrection of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why I trust God. Not because of my explanations for why people suffer, but because Jesus suffered — and rose again. It’s not ultimately why things happen that matters, but where things are going.
No matter what’s happening, the story isn’t over yet. It’s not anywhere near over.

FearOne of my favorite Old Testament scholars is John Goldingay. Recently I read about his wife Ann, who died not too long ago of MS. John teaches at Fuller Seminary, and the mostly silent Ann often attended seminary functions in her wheelchair.

In his book, Walk On, John Goldingay shares about his life with God through the journey of Ann’s battle with MS. In his chapter titled Calamity, he shares his thoughts on the book of Job. He writes: (more…)

The Best Question

August 5, 2009

WisdomPastor Andy Stanley has written a book called The Best Question Ever. I haven’t read it yet, but I learned what question he’s referring to through a blog post that someone else wrote about the book. The “best” question is, “What is the wise thing to do?” I don’t know if it’s the best question ever, but I think it’s a great question.

Stanley applies this question to three specific areas: time, money and morality. Instead of asking, “Is it okay for me to use my time this way?”, why not ask, “Is this a wise use of my time?” Instead of asking, “Is there anything wrong with my buying this?”, how about asking, “Would this be a wise way to spend my money?” Wisdom sees things holistically and is less likely to heed the beck and call of instant gratification.

There is a whole body of literature in the Bible called “wisdom literature.” The book of Proverbs is one example. Proverbs are neither commands nor promises. They are rules of thumb, insights gained by experience. They were written down by people who lived the question, “What is the wise thing to do?” Again, I think it’s a great question. What do you think?