How many of us have heard or seen someone say something like this “I am an atheist because if God existed, He could have stopped this tragedy in my life, if He really loved me”? That is not an unusual viewpoint because in the oldest book of the Bible, the wife of Job saw all the calamities surrounding him, and in a statement of cruel mercy urges him to escape the calamities by cursing God and then die for blasphemy (Job 2:9)

In 1984 the lead singer of Foreigner warbled the words to this ballad:

In my life there’s been heartache and pain
I don’t know if I can face it again
Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far, to change this lonely life

I want to know what love is, I want you to show me
I want to feel what love is, I know you can show me[1]

Of course, it is a love song, but the sentiment is universal: we all want a life free from heartache and pain whether it be in relationships or in the circumstances in life.

It is the same thing that keeps those who flunked high school math buying mega millions lottery tickets.  (:-P) They wrongly believe that they will win, and that money insulates them from a lifetime of pain.

Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God did not escape calamity.

Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”  [2]

What are we to say about the school shootings, which are examples of mass calamities to entire communities? Since the 1999 Columbine school shooting there are 11 school shootings in the US where four or more died, including the suicide of the shooter. One source I saw noted that the worldwide total of school shootings is over 200.

My point here in this list is not to minimize tragedy. Rather it is to state that despite the dreaming of secular songwriters, of Job’s wife, and of the specious reasoning from atheists to “prove that God does not exist” calamities happen to all of us. They differ in degree, length and intensity, but they are universal, and perhaps omnipresent.

The question before us is not, “Why are there not less bad things happening to good people?”, it is why are there not more calamities happening to all of us? That is a logical question because Scripture clearly stated that “all of have sinned…”[3] It says that the “paycheck” for our sins is death and separation from God.[4] It is not as if God is capricious; instead, He has a good plan for all who believe, and that plan is greater than all of the calamities we encounter. Here is proof:

Many of us may be familiar with the trials of Job listed throughout the book, but less are familiar with the ending of Job.

And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. 15 And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 16 And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. 17 And Job died, an old man, and full of days. [5]

The God of the Bible is loving and cares for His children, but the god of this world, Satan, hates all of humanity because they alone are created in the image of God. Therefore, it is no wonder that due to his hate of humans, he wants to harm them, and trap them into bondages, believing that the God of the Bible is not sovereign over the calamities He sends our way.

Seven times Job maintains his blamelessness before God; twice God says the same thing to Satan, despite what his “comforters” state. We can see his writhing angst over the intensity of the inflictions God permitted Satan to send on Job.

The lesson of Job is that we all experience moments like these that will shape who we become. The mettle of Job was revealed through his sufferings, and because the God Whom Job loved had a plan that superseded the calamities in his life. What are the plans that God has for your life?

Our seasons change, as do our abilities and situations. What does not change is God’s unique plan for each of his Children. Nor did anything that Job do change that plan which God had for Job.  What happened was that through his steadfast blamelessness, God blessed Job for 140 years.

Theologians call that “Covenantal Faithfulness”. It is simply a contract that God has with his children, and it goes like this: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  No one can break that covenant, either. What God promises, He will do, and that is the perspective that Job had. No calamity is greater than the One who created the Universe, and all therein.

What is your calamity? Is it a prodigal? Is it a terminal diagnosis? Is it any sort of addiction? Is it a broken relationship? Whatever it is, it is painful, and you have my sympathy in your sorrow and pain

However, when we make the conscience decision to appropriate the promise that God will never leave us, nor forsake those for whom His Son died, we see our calamities in a new way: God is refining us to be in His image, and for that, we can rejoice.

[1] Copyright Mick Jones, Producers, Mick Jones & Alex Sadkin

[2] Matthew 26:38-38  English Standard Bible

[3] Romans 3:23  ESV

[4] Romans 6:23   ESV

[5] Job 42:12 ff   ESV