Brothers and sisters of Grow in:
Not long after I accepted God’s new work, some misfortunes happened in my life. I, who used to be always in good health, suddenly have gotten stomach trouble, and my husband also has met with some accidents in his work. I am very puzzled by these things, thinking, “Isn’t God almighty? Why did God not protect me and my family? Since I have believed in God, things should go smoothly in my family; how come I encounter these disagreeable things after I have just accepted God’s new work?” I feel very puzzled and don’t know what isin allowing these things to come upon me, much less know how to experience them. I hope you can communicate with and help me.
The question you brought up is confusing for most new brothers and sisters in the faith. When we have just came before God and then meet with these misfortunes, it is inevitable that we will feel puzzled. This is because we have always believed that since we, we should receive God’s care and protection and without calamities befalling us. For this reason, when disagreeable things come upon us one after another, we cannot help misunderstanding and blaming God. If we do not seek the truth to resolve problems related to this aspect in a timely manner, we will easily doubt God’s work, and even deny and betray God when encountering these misfortunes. Therefore, seeking to understand this aspect of truth is especially important for people like us who have just accepted God’s new work.
Seeing Clearly the Spiritual Battle and Seeing Through Satan’s Schemes
Outwardly, these misfortunes befalling us are the deeds of men or are accidents. In reality, behind the scenes, Satan is making a wager with God and there is an intense spiritual battle. Let’s read a passage from God’s word, and then we will understand.
God says, “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men, and the interference of men. Behind every step that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle.”
God’s word clearly tells us the mysteries of the spiritual world. On the surface, we encountered some disagreeable things, causing losses in the interests of our flesh; in truth, it is Satan making a bet with God and is a spiritual battle. After being corrupted by Satan, we humans have fallen under Satan’s domain and firmly controlled and grasped by it. When we are chosen by God and come into His presence, this means that God desires to save us from the influence of Satan in order that we will never be fooled and afflicted by it. But Satan’s essence is evil and it is unwilling to see that we return before God to accept His salvation. So, by illness and difficulties in our family’s work, Satan attacks us and tries to ruin our positivity of believing in God, making us lose confidence in God, even deny and betray Him and thereby miss the opportunity to receive His salvation, and eventually be devoured by and be destroyed along with it. This is Satan’s sinister intention. However, God permits such circumstances to come upon us, through which He wants us to see clearly Satan’s ugliness and evil intention so that we are able to truly reject and betray it, and to shame Satan by standing testimony for God. When Satan sees that we sincerely rely on God and resolve to stand firm in our testimony to God, it will be completely shamed and defeated and naturally, these circumstances will disappear.
Take when Job was tempted by Satan, for example: Behind the scenes, there was also a spiritual battle unknown to man. Satan believed Job’s belief in God was due to God’s blessings to him and thus it came before God accusing Job. But God examines people’s hearts; He knew that Job’s faith in Him and fear of Him was true, so God allowed Satan to tempt Job. It is as thesays, “Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? Have not you made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? you have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face. And the LORD said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power; only on himself put not forth your hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD” (Job 1:9–12). “And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has will he give for his life. But put forth your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face. And the LORD said to Satan, Behold, he is in your hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown” (Job 2:4–7). In order to make Job deny and betray God, Satan attacked him by making him suffer many misfortunes. It raised up a gang of robbers robbing Job of his property and killing his servants, made calamity befall his children, and even made sore boils break out across Job’s body. But Job feared God and shunned evil. Faced with these things, although Job endured suffering, he did not deny God, but continued to bless the name of Jehovah, thus standing witness for God and shaming Satan. After being thoroughly disgraced, Satan did not accuse Job any longer. Subsequently, all these situations were moved away and Job received God’s blessings again. It can be seen from Job’s experience that when encountering adversities, we need to see clearly Satan’s sinister intentions and see through its schemes so that we can stand witness for God.
Knowing Our Wrong Perspectives on Faith in God to Resolve Our Desires for Blessings
We are full of vigor when God blesses us, but we misunderstand and blame Him when we encounter calamities or misfortunes. Why is this? In fact, this is all caused by our wrong perspectives on faith in God.
God’s word says, “Most people believe in God for the sake of peace and other benefits. Unless it is to your benefit, you don’t believe in God, and if you can’t receive God’s graces, you fall into a sulk. How could this be your true stature? When it comes to inevitable family incidents (children falling ill, husbands going into hospital, poor crop yields, persecution of family members, and so on), you can’t even make it through these things that often happen in day-to-day life. When such things happen, you’re thrown into a panic, you don’t know what to do—and most of the time, you complain about God.”
God’s word reveals the wrong perspective that we believe in God only in order to gain blessings. In our opinion, God is a God bestowing grace upon man, and as long as we believe in God, He should protect us from calamities and make sure everything goes smoothly. So, we thank and praise God when He blesses us and makes everything go smoothly, but we become negative and weak, begin to misunderstand and blame God, and even deny Him once we fall under hard times or undergo some suffering. This makes us see clearly that our belief in God is a transaction with God, and that our wrong perspectives on faith in God will cause us to unknowingly blame God, distance ourselves from Him, and even betray Him.
In fact, we are originally created by God. It is God who gives us the life and the right to live. As created creatures, it is totally justifiable for us to believe in and worship God. We should not have demands of God, much less believe in Him merely in order to gain blessings. Rather, we ought to seek to obey all that comes from God. Regardless of whether God blesses us or allows calamities and suffering to come upon us, we are able to obey and worship Him. This is the belief we must hold as followers of God. If we can have right intentions, and can resolvedly follow and worship God without blaming Him no matter how little the things we encounter fit our notions or no matter how great of a loss we suffer in our fleshly interests, thus we are able to stand witness for God and receive His approval.
Imitating Job, Experiencing Trials and Resolving the Impurities
The Bible says, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zechariah 13:9).
God’s word says, “While undergoing trials, it’s normal for people to be weak, or have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work, and not deny God, like Job. Although Job was weak and cursed the day of his own birth, he did not deny that all things in human life were bestowed by Jehovah, and that Jehovah is also the One to take it all away. No matter how he was tested, he maintained this belief.” “… and should focus on satisfying God by experiencing His words in real life, and bearing strong and resounding testimony that brings shame upon Satan. Although your flesh will remain unsatisfied and have suffered, you will have satisfied God and brought shame upon Satan.”
From God’s word and the above verse, we see that the purpose of God allowing some misfortunes to come upon us is to cleanse our incorrect perspectives on faith in God and to test whether or not we truly believe in God. At the beginning, our believing in God is just to ask for bread to eat our fill and to obtain God’s grace, not to sincerely worship God. So, when encountering calamities, we will involuntarily become negative and weak, and even misunderstand and complain about God. Encountering such trials allows us to see the impurities in our belief in God as well as our rebellion against and resistance to Him, and to know our own corruption. Furthermore, if in trials we can pray to God, seek the truth, hate ourselves, and then, like Job, we are able to endure pain and forsake what we love to satisfy God and bear beautiful and resounding witness for Him no matter how He tests us, we will receive God’s approval. We hope that when experiencing trials, we can imitate Job, stand on the side of God, and bear resounding witness to Him.
We are hoping that the fellowship above can help you. Thanks be to God! Amen!
Grow in Christ