Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Blahs

I sat through Pastor Max's lesson on Job Monday night. I can say I learned some things and some things were made clearer, but I still have some issues with that book. It probably isn't helping that I feel like I am in a downward spiral emotionally and spiritually right now. I can't really lay a reason on why I am struggling so. Some people have said it's the weather. No. It is definitely not the weather. I love the cold and snow and actually get depressed thinking about spring and summer. I just don't know what it is, but I do know I am weary. I often think of the verse where Jesus says, "Come unto me all you who are weary and I will give you rest." I just can't seem to get some of that rest. My schedule is out of control. I am glad Anna got into show choir and that she is enjoying it, but it is taxing me being gone Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. Add to that the stress of feeling like homeschooling is just a failure again this year and I just feel weary. Very weary. Perhaps this is just a season that will pass. I hope so. I want to feel well again. Perhaps tomorrow I will set up some goals to help me get there. Tonight, I am too tired to think that much.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why do the righteous suffer?

My Old Testament survey class is in the books of Job and Ecclesiastes this week. This is the second time within the last 6 months that I have read through the book of Job and, to be honest, I am still struggling with it. I don't question the authority of God to do whatever He wants. I get that we have ultimately no control over things. We are the created, not the creator. Yet, I am still frustrated and baffled by so many things in this book.

If, for example, Job was blameless and upright (as the first few verses tell us he was), why did God set him up for attack? Obviously Satan had to ask permission of God to afflict Job with the calamities that befell him. And God said "Yes." I don't get that. If some bully came to my door and asked me if I would allow him to beat up my son in order to build his character, my answer would be a resounding "NO!" I may even chase the bully off my property. My duty as a parent is to protect my son. I would not want to set him up for humiliation and pain. Now, as a parent, I do allow my kids to learn from their own mistakes. Mistakes are going to be made and I cannot protect my kids from all their consequences. But Job made no mistake that caused these disasters. It was simply God turning him over to Satan and putting the one perameter of not allowing death to Job in place. I don't get it.

Job was a righteous man. He was blessed beyond measure. Then, the blessings were gone. In the church I grew up in I was taught that if you obey God, then his blessings will follow you. (I don't think this is the same as the health and wealth gospel preached today which says if you have enough faith God will bess you.) Sin brings consequences and obedience brings blessings. It is the natural order of things. If my children disobeyed me, they would lose privileges of some sort, but if they obeyed, I would grant them extra favor to reinforce their prompt obedience. Of course, they, like all of us, did not ALWAYS obey the first time, but they knew the consequences would follow disobedience and blessing would follow obedience. Then I look at Job. He didn't disobey. He never cursed God. Eventually, his fortune was returned to him. Yet, anyone who has lost a child knows another child cannot replace the one lost. A void can be filled and love extended but one always wonders what may have become of the child lost. While Job did have children again to "replace" those lost, they were not the same children.

Why would God choose to withhold blessings from those who obey but bless those who curse His name? I just don't understand this. I know I need to move on in faith and know that not all things will be known on earth. This is getting more difficult, though, as I feel crushed under the hand of God. I feel homeschooling was a call from God for me. I gave up a full time job I enjoyed and obeyed. Living on one income has been beyond difficult. We seldom know where grocery money is coming from. We lost a home to foreclosure and now pay ridiculously high rent because we cannot buy a house. We drive old beat up and unreliable vehicles. We cannot buy our kids clothing on a regular basis let alone a decent car to drive. We cannot help with college expenses like parents are supposed to be able to do. I know these are material things but they are necessary material things. I find I am growing depressed as the financial frustrations just keep getting worse. What am I doing wrong that God is choosing to withhold blessings? Am I doing nothing wrong and this is just our lot in life? I need an answer and so far have not been able to find one.