Satan’s big lie is to tell us that God loves us when we are good. The flip side would then have to be that God doesn’t love us when we are bad. God’s love is thus conditional based upon our performance. When bad things happen to us we therefore believe that we have somehow been bad and God’s love is withdrawn.
This was the attitude of Job’s three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar who come to comfort Job in his sorrow but end up blaming him for all that has gone wrong. They remind him if he was a righteous man none of the disasters that befell his family would have happened. There has to be something wrong with Job for all these bad things to happen to him. This line of reasoning in all its nuances stretches from Job 3 almost to the end of the book.
Then God speaks to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of what is right, as my servant Job has.” Job 42:7 So what is God telling us in the book of Job? We suffer because we are in the world and the fact that we are righteous or unrighteous doesn’t make a difference in what happens.
Wonderful Christians come down with cancer and so do really bad people. Christians struggle financially and so do non-Christians. The children of Christians will often make bad life choices and so do the children of non-believers. The point is God doesn’t promise us as Christians that nothing bad will ever happen to us, He promises us that He will be with us through the storm.
The premise of Scripture is that regardless of what happens, you can trust God. Satan’s great lie is that you can’t trust God or nothing bad would ever happen to you. Job’s three friends were simply repeating the lies of Satan when they continually tried to blame him for all the problems in his life.
So, many Christians fall for this lie and as a result, live a life of doubt and fear. When the first sign of a problem raises its ugly head they believe that somehow they have let God down and He is punishing them for their failures and disobedience. That is a lie.
We live in a sinful and fallen world where sin predominates. We catch colds not because we are sinners, but because someone has spread the germs to us. We develop cancer not because we have sinned, but because it might be in the family tree, or the luck of the draw, or through something we have done like smoking for forty years.
God is not playing Russian roulette with you or some game of hot potato. He doesn’t sit around all day thinking up ways to “get you” because you sin. If He did that, we would all be dead ages ago. Now here is the kicker, through suffering and bad things happening to us we can grow closer to God if we can get our heads around the fact that God isn’t punishing us through that suffering.
When something bad happens to us we can either blame God for being unjust for allowing the problem into our lives, or we can blame ourselves. Both ways of thinking are equally wrong.
The problem with the first idea is that we somehow believe we are above suffering and have an elitist attitude that we are so special that nothing should ever happen to us. If something does happen then it is God’s fault for not doing enough to look after our interests. That way of thinking is really arrogant and self-serving with God being nothing more than “fire insurance” in our lives.
The second way of thinking is to believe we mean so little to God that He punishes us for every little infraction in our lives. He becomes so angry with us for disobeying Him that He spreads havoc to us. This view is to see God as a tyrant and us as pawns in His game of life and death.
However, if we understand God’s love for us and think the of cross, then we should know God would never play those games with us. We live in a sin-drenched world and our God promises that, though we go through problems and disappointments, He is ever with us to comfort and support.
Here is truth, “What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also give us all things through Him? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed interceded for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:31-35
Does this sound like a God who can hardly wait to punish you because you messed up something in your life? No! This is God giving His own Son to suffer persecution, torture and death that we might have the free gift of eternal life.
God promises that since He is for us, Satan cannot bring any charges against us or accuse us in any way. God promises that Jesus sits at His right hand making intercession for us and the result is that no one or anything can separate us from “the love of Christ.”
When we face tribulations, distress, persecution, famine, peril or any other terrible thing it is not God who does it to us, but God who gets us through it and out of that experience we learn to appreciate and better understand the love of God that allowed His Son to die for us.
Over and over in Scripture Jesus speaks of His wanting to protect His people as a mother hen would protect her chicks by scooting them under her wings. Do you know what that means? It is the reality that the mother hen would die to protect her young. A fox would kill her, hail would crush her, cold would kill her, but the young would live. Jesus sacrifices Himself for us that we may live.
Jesus comes to us in our pain to hold and encourage us and strengthen us. He holds us with His nail-printed hands and promises that no one or nothing could ever snatch us out of His loving arms of comfort and safety.
Satan lies when he says you suffer because you are bad. We suffer because of Satan. Christianity is that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 Jesus didn’t hang on Calvary’s cross only for good people. No, He hung on Calvary’s cross because there are no good people. He died there that we could have hope, assurance, peace, comfort, and joy in the reality of being given a new life through losing His life.
That is love unfathomable and that is love unconditional. That is love pouring out to us in such gushes that it swallows us up in a torrent of grace and mercy and puts our hand in to the hand of God our Father.
The God of the Universe loves you and that love is not based on how good or bad you are – is a gift.
Do yourself a favor and take a moment and listen to this beautiful song by Rich Mullins – you’ll be greatly blessed.
* The persecution of Christians has not stopped. If anything it’s increased. The main stream media doesn’t talk about it much anymore but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Pray and stay informed and inform others. Please take the time to read some of their stories at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…