God-life: Job's Suffering Written by Aleck Cartwright
God-life: Job and You
I am reading book of Job again in light of all that is happening over world with injustice of life and I am realising again that "life isn't fair but God is good".
(Hebrews 11) Abel believed God and he died, Enoch believed God and he did not die, Noah believed God and pretty much everybody else died. The only thing that they had in common was that they all believed God and it pleased Him. All that matters is if we believe, because then we can supernaturally bear all of often overwhelming circumstances and situations of life by our simple faith in God. His "yolk is easy and His burden is light"
The problem of suffering leads us to one of four conclusions, 1. there is no God and life is a pathetic joke, 2. God is cruel and arbitrary and cares nothing for mankind, 3. God is powerless, or 4. God is alive and at work in our lives but we do not always completely understand what he is doing. Number 4 takes incredible faith.
As Job put it,"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." The book Of Job actually hit me very hard as I read what it says. Job suffered terribly. His suffering would be on par with those in Africa or Asia or with any third world nation like Mozambique or Madagascar, where there is terrible demoralizing poverty.
Job had everything to lose at beginning of book and actually did lose everything in a very short period of time. He had friends who tried to give him counsel by reasoning with him about why all of this was happening. In fact His friends guidance was on par with any wisdom that man could give today. Job is one of earliest books ever written, and yet not much has changed since then. There is nothing new under sun.
Suffering has been a part of life ever since fall and yet God turns it around for our good. It is incredible that Satan had to ask God's permission to terrorise Job, he doesn't seem to have free reign, and also seems to be leashed, so that he can't take Job's life ultimately.
I also found it interesting that Job never once blamed Satan for his suffering, when that is what we do first and foremost. Is it that Job did not have a concept of Satan? Every time Job contemplates his suffering, he asks, "Why God?". Job saw centrality of God in universe and his own life. If we could focus on God and believe that He really does work all things out for our good, it may just be easier to understand why bad things happen to good people.
Christ and Culture Part 3Written by Aleck Cartwright
5.Christ and Vocation Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” As second part of this series on Christ and culture, Christ and vocation should be understood as domain where God is revealed to society in our day to day lives. To understand relationship between Christ and vocation, we cannot keep them rigidly compartmentalised. Your vocation is your cross. You are cross that God's life hangs upon and as such your work is a powerful witness of your faith and testimony. If we understand that Christ lives in us, we see that He also walks down street in us and goes to work in us, all to reveal His life and purposes in us.
So if we understand this right, your vocation is very important to God. It is not a timid accommodation to prevailing culture. This is truly where Christ and culture collide! An opportunity to live Christian life in practical ways with support of God's grace. You can confront world by Christ in you through your chosen line of work. No matter what part of society you work in, God's purposes are made clear within principles for each domain. Be it education, church, economics, education, family, science, arts or government, as individuals we have responsibility and calling to be Jesus with skin on in our workplace.
By calling Christians into world, we are also calling them to be truly out of this world in their expression of Christ. People will notice statement your life will make when you live with them and protest worldly corruption and idolatry in your sphere of influence.
We must bear our message into public life, not just when we are hymn-singing in church, for that is what salt and light should be, at all times and in all places. Somehow we have decided that only spiritual sphere is regarded as within competence of divine claim and command, whereas secular sphere is where only economic, political and social laws apply. We have become existentialists and agnostic, not Christian.
Sometimes we are called to patient endurance of an oppressive government, as in case of Zimbabwe, church has not taken up arms, instead opting to pray for salvation of members in government and protest through vocation, and if that fails then to put their trust in God's ability to raise up an enemy for oppressor. But in some cases, Christians are not only permitted but also required to fight kingdom, in that situation, correct vocation may be one of soldier. The opposition against Nazi Germany was one such case where leader was not divinely instituted and was intent on destroying Christianity and monotheistic worldview, to replace it with an idolatrous nationalism. It was morally right to fight that war.
In case where a government is ordained by God, a Christian in his vocation may have less incentive to call for such significant reforms. Sadly, we live in an age where irresponsibility is rife and abandonment of vocation is widespread, particularly most important of vocations, parenthood. Day-care allows even those who can afford to raise their own children to abdicate that responsibility. Since a vocation is a cross, surely abandonment of it must be sin.