Posted by izonprize

Posted by izonprize
Why does God allow people to hurt us?  This could be one of the hardest questions in the life of a believer.  Our God, who is omnipotent, all-powerful; omnipresent, everywhere; omniscient, all-knowing; infinite and eternal, allows people to interrupt our comfort with their hurtful and less than loving words and behaviors.

The book of Job teaches us much about difficult relationships.   Job's friends, who began by sitting in silence and throwing dirt on themselves and mourning over Job's pain, end up being critical and judgmental mind-readers.  Because they couldn't understand what was happening to Job, they "assumed" Job must have committed some sin for these disasters to befall him!  They brought accusations against their friend because they didn't understand the reasons for the circumstances GOD was allowing in Job's life.

Have YOU ever been mis-judged by or falsely accused of sin by a friend?  God often allows bad things to befall His chosen ones.  Why? Only GOD knows. Job didn't know, at the time, why these horrific things were coming upon him. And neither did his friends.  But they tried to figure God out.  That was the first mistake...trying to figure God out!  Imagine that!  A man thinking He can know the mind of God.   God's ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than the heavens.

What was Job's response to the disasters that unexpectedly came upon him? "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him" (Job 13:15). "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised" (Job 1:21). Even Job's wife had something to pierce Job with: "Do you continue to stand by your integrity? Why don't you just curse God and die?!" (Job 2:9). Job probably expected that his wife and best friends would think the best of him because, that's what love does:  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres--it bears up under everything, believes the best in all, there is no limit to her hope, and never will she fall (1 Corinthians 13:7).        


Why do we have expectations of people?  We have these high hopes and misguided beliefs that people are basically good.  But the Bible disagrees.  All of us are tainted by sin and infected with failure.  "No one does good; no, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips.  Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.  Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.  There is no fear of God before their eyes."  Not one of us deserves anything but hell.  All of us, except by the grace of God, are deserving of the most horrific misery imaginable.  But for the love and grace of God.  Only Christ in us is our hope of glory.  There is nothing good that dwells in man except the spirit of Christ, if He indeed indwells that man.   So why do we have such high expectations of good from our fellow humans made from dust?  Job may have expected his friends to believe the best of him and surely he could have expected his wife, at the very least, to understand his pain. After all, wasn't she suffering too?  Why didn't she look to her own lack of perfection in her humanity to be the cause of these calamities?  Why did she blame Job and not herself?  Probably for the same reason we all judge anyone and everyone for anything and everything that happens to us.  So we don't have to look at ourselves.

Having expectations just sets us up for resentments.

Expectations...I expect my husband to be kind...all the time. And loving....all the time.  And generous and selfless...all the time. I expect him to know my thoughts and anticipate my desires.  I expect he knows why I am upset or where I would like to eat dinner.  I expect him to figure out my moods and know my favorite flower has always been purple tulips...without being told, of course.  I expect my husband to know I don't like sugar in my coffee, ever.  And should he need to be told my monotonous schedule, week after week, year after year, even though it never changes?  And I expect him to know I have always wanted to go to Israel and Ireland and when he makes travel plans that he would consider those desires.  I expect him to never have a bad day or to be abrupt with me, ever.   I expect him to be the spiritual head of our house and to initiate Bible reading and prayer.  I expect him to never be grumpy or short-tempered and I definitely expect him to love me as Christ loved the church.  And that is just my expectations of my husband!

What about my children? I expect them to respect me and to honor me.  I expect them to call me on Mother's Day and come see me on my birthday.  I expect them to come to my house for Christmas and want to be with me at family reunions.  And yes, I expect a phone call every so often.  And My grandchildren? I expect them to be happy to see me, always.  My friends and co-workers?  That's another long list.  I expect my best friends to really know me and understand my thoughts...from afar!   I expect them to read my moods and comfort me in my sorrows.  I expect them to think the best of me and to never gossip or talk bad about me...ever.  I expect them to have my back when others talk trash about me.  I expect my friends to check on me when I'm sick or in pain and to spend time with me when I desperately need someone to talk with.  I expect them to be interested in the things that interest me.  I expect them to love the things I love or at least show appreciation for what I love to do.

I even have expectations of places.  How about Kroger!?  I expect them to have all the ingredients I need for that cake I'm making, so I don't have to make another trip to HEB.  I expect that favorite restaurant to have a table available when I arrive and not keep me waiting.  I expect my dry cleaning to be done when they promised and that important thing I ordered from Amazon to arrive on time. I expect my mail carrier to ring my door bell to deliver my packages and not just throw them on the porch and hurry away.

I have even higher expectations of things.  Especially things under warranty that I paid extra for!  I expect my "super quiet" disposal I paid extra money for to still be super quiet 3 years from the day I bought it.  I expect the brand new connector on our ice machine to not break and flood our house in the middle of the night.  I expect the battery in my new car to last more than 6 months. I expect my computer and internet to work without fail, always.  I expect my cell phone to last a full two years.  At least.

That's enough.  I think you get the picture.  What about you?  What expectations do you have of people, places and things?  How do you respond when you are disappointed when things don't go as you expected?  Do you get angry? Sad? Disappointed? Grumpy? Withdrawn?  Do you become resentful? Unforgiving? Hold grudges? Do you shut down? Walk away...for good?  Do you treat them the way they treated you?  Revengeful?  Sarcastic?

Why do you have any expectations of perfection from imperfect people and a fallen world?  Put your hope in God.  God has demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Even though we were lost in sin and there was not one redeeming quality about our character, Christ chose to die for us.  Despite the evil bent of the human heart, God became a man and lived among us, taking on the form of a man in order to become our sacrifice.  He paid the penalty of our sin that was due us.  We deserved hell.  It was our great expectation...BUT GOD.  He sent His son so we could receive eternal life, which is Christ.  So, when bad things happen to us, let's remember we don't deserve anything good; we actually deserve hell, and our expectations can very well be a God-syndrome.  What we have been freely and undeservedly given, if we have placed our trust in Christ's finished work on the cross for our sins, is heaven.

Is that enough?  Is the cross enough?  What should be our great expectation?  That bad things do happen to us and at times it seems we don't deserve them.  But God allows them to come into our life because He has a higher plan than we can imagine. Instead of doubting the goodness of God who Created us unique and for His glory, let's "Trust in the LORD with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.  In all our ways, let's acknowledge Him and He WILL make our paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6). After all, even Jesus knows the pain of betrayal, "You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above..." (John 19:11).  Joseph said, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is being done, the saving of many lives" Genesis 50:20).  And look how humble and patient King David was when cursed by Shimei, instigated by Satan.  David considered the cursing as being allowed by God for his greater good and he quietly submitted to the ridicule, saying "What is it to me or to you if he reviles me? Because The Lord has said to him 'Curse David'. Who then shall say, 'Why have you done that?'" (2 Samuel 16:10). Perhaps Isaiah said it best when referring to how our Lord went to the cross for us at the hands of evil doers, "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth; like a Lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before his shearers, so He did not open His mouth" (Isaiah 53:7).  "When Jesus was accused, He answered nothing" (Matthew 27:12-14).  "When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. INSTEAD, HE ENTRUSTED HIMSELF TO HIM WHO JUDGES JUSTLY" (1 Peter 2:23).

Nothing is more encouraging to one who suffers for the cause of Christ than to see Jesus at the right hand of the Father!  As they were stoning Stephen, unjustly, He prayed for his tormentors asking for their forgiveness.  In the end, he was not ashamed, for he saw His Savior in glory in the midst of his suffering and pain.  It was to Him who sits on the throne that he called out in his hour of death, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!'" (Acts 7:59).  And in the fiery furnace of affliction, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, firmly tied and thrown into the roaring flames, were vindicated, as King Nebuchadnezzar spotted a miracle: "Didn't we throw three men bound up and alive into the furnace?...Look! I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed!  And the fourth looks like a god!" (Daniel 3:24-25).  The King called the men out of the furnace and the fire had not harmed their bodies, not a hair of their heads had been singed, their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in Him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God....no other god can save in this way" (Daniel 3:26-29).

At the end of Job's troubles, he too was not ashamed.
Then Job replied to the LORD:
"I know that You can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?'  Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
"You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.'
My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:1-5).

If Job could speak to us plainly, as he tries to in this passage, he would most likely say "Don't kick against God!  Lean into His marvelous ways!  Embrace His wisdom  and surrender to His decrees!  How much better for a man, such as I was, to be transferred from the kingdom of darkness into His Kingdom of Light.  To move from having a head knowledge to a heart experience.  To leave the law of cold religion for the warmth and life of His grace and truth.  To no longer just know about God from what was passed down to me by my fathers, but to actually hear His voice and have a conversation with the God of the Universe who chose to love me, in spite of my dusty frame.  Nothing compares to knowing Him.  It was all worth it". "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8).

Lastly...What Expectations Should I have?

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy (Romans 15:1-9).