Divine Retribution

“Divine Retribution”  These words are the concept with which Job and his friends wrestled.  His friends claimed that Job had sinned and therefore deserved punishment.  They claimed that his sin put him in the awful place in which he found himself. 

Job, on the other hand, was convinced that he had not sinned so as to deserve the depth of punishment that her was receiving.  He was so convinced of this that he demanded an audience with God in order to “prove his innocence.”  Imagine that–taking God to court!

They were all wrong.  Divine retribution whether it is punishment for sin or reward for righteousness is not how this world works and it’s not the kind of relationship we would want with God.

First, I am too great a sinner to  ever have a righteous leg to stand on.  My proving anything to God as far as my innocence would be a futile attempt.  Second, God is too loving a God to play games with us like this.  Our covenant relationship is not a “God-gives-because-I-didn’t-sin-today” relationship.  It is all dependent upon Him.  The good things He gives us are not rewards like I give my puppy when he performs for me.  I say “sit” and if he does he gets a treat and a pat on the head if not there’s no treat.

Do you ever play those games with God?  I have.  Last week was one of those weeks.  Danielle hurts and I lash out at the one who can heal her.  My thinking process went like this.  “I am your servant.  I am a good husband, an OK preacher (my thoughts not necessarily the thoughts of my church family), I am a pretty good father who takes up time with his kids and tries, feeble as it is, to teach them about You.  DANIELLE DESERVES A BREAK HERE!”  Then I begin to defend her to God.  She’s just an innocent child who wants to feel better.  Give her a break.  And so on and so on.

I’m sure that none of you have ever struggled like this, but here are some things that I am learning. 

1. If God could be manipulated by the good that I do, He would then become like me.  The same would be true for you.  God would be a puppet on each of our strings.  We could make Him do whatever we wanted.  God doesn’t owe me anything.

2. I am learning that God does care even when we are in the struggle.  I know it doesn’t feel like it, but I have to stop lashing out at Him and start reaching out to Him.  It is not right for me to think that God has turned against us or is ignoring us.  He is right here with us in the struggle working to our good something for our future.

3. I am learning that God’s blessing are not always packaged in ways that I can recognize.  We are, in a sense on, a new road.  Our problem is that we have using old road signs to travel on this road.  The teaching of divine retribution is one of those old road signs I’m having to replace with trust.  We must just continue to trust and see where it is that God is taking us through this journey.

4. The fact that Danielle is suffering is not a sign that He has forsaken us.  He is with us and our focus must still be on Him. He knows what we need much better than we know ourselves.

I hasten to say that I am still learning these things.  Our life is like a story and we are in the middle of it not at the end.  I hope that we can enjoy the ride in a way that even in the midst of hard times we can find that peace the surpasses all understanding and live in the genuine joy of God’s love.  All the while we trust Him to work in us all that is His will for our lives.

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5 responses to “Divine Retribution

  • Greg England

    And those are lessons one has to learn for one’s self. They cannot be learned by lectures and / or well-wishes from others.

    As for taking God to trial. If Job had a Los Angeles jury, he would have won the case!

  • Meowmix

    I am in a similar struggle, Keith……….just not the same circumstance. I sure do understand the “I’m a good person. Haven’t I done enough good in my life to deserve better than what’s happening to me?” mindset. I can’t say I’m as far along with it as you are, but I keep trying…….and praying. I continue to pray for Danielle and the rest of your family, as well. God bless you in your walk………

  • Keith Davis

    Thanks Meomix for the encouragement. I don’t think I’m as far as I sound like either. Sunday morning one of our guys talked about how easy it was to do the right thing when there are no hills to climb. He compared it to a runner. Running is much easier on the straight level path. It’s when the hills come that I get worried. I just want to try and do better. As soon as I say that, I’m somewhat affraid of a test.

  • Matt Dabbs

    Some lessons can only be learned while in the refiner’s fire. Some of us would certainly be better people if we had similar experiences. God bless you as you continue to learn the tough lessons that not everyone is priviledged enough to learn (myself included).

  • cwinwc

    One of those blessings is teaching me about faith in the face of trials facing our kids. I hope I’m around years down the road when we’ll know what God was up to. We’ll continue to pray for Danielle and all of you.

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