“Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” (Job 41:11, NIV)
The phone rang this morning; when I answered, my niece spoke sweetly from the other end, “Did I wake you up, Aunt Sherry?” Actually, she had not, although I confessed to still being in bed petting one of my (as she calls them) “fur babies.” We talked about her upcoming visit this weekend and how we were looking forward to our time together. You see, my sister, her mother, Dianne, passed away only a few weeks ago unexpectedly from the Coronavirus that is plaguing our world currently and this will be our first time together since her death.
We discussed the trials our family has endured with other members who have also been very sick, thanking God for their recent healing. My niece, whose name is also Dianne shared her struggle of letting God know that another loss of life so soon would be too hard to accept. I think she was surprised when I told her that I had had the exact same conversation with God. Because I am older and a little more “seasoned” in my Christian faith-walk, perhaps, than the younger generation, the perception is often that I am somehow less prone to the human weakness of doubt that accompanies waiting on God. One of my favorite books is by C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. When the young character, Lucy, meets the Lion, Aslan, the representation of Jesus, she asks, “Is He safe?” The person to whom she asks the question responds, “No. He is not safe, but He is good!”
We live in a world with a broken environment filled with broken occupants; these two things are not exclusively independent of one another, which is why believing one can fix the other is foolishness. As many of you know, my husband Richard died almost seven years ago from a form of Alzheimer’s disease at the age of only sixty-seven-years-old. During his years of illness, I prayed for healing that obviously did not come in the way I had hoped. However, there is no question that God walked this very difficult road with us in profound ways. In the Scripture above, when Job had lost everything in his world, unarguably he felt physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. We might expect for God to answer Job’s self-pity with expressions of sympathy, but He did not. Instead, God questions Job by asking him rhetorically, who are you to question Me when everything, including you belongs to Me? (Job 41:11, paraphrased and emphasized by me).
Friend, just because we ask God for what we want in prayer does not make Him bound to our wants and expectations. He loves when we bring our concerns and “wants” to Him, but He adores even more when we trust Him beyond what our eyes are able to see and our hearts are able to fully comprehend. Is God safe? No, He is not safe, but He is always, always good!