Read Job 4:7
4 “Stop and think! Do the innocent die?
When have the upright been destroyed? (NLT)
These words, spoken by Job’s companion Eliphaz, are demonstrably untrue. He was trying to confine God to a formula, life to a set of fixed principles. The innocent die, the upright suffer.
We need to be careful we don’t fall into that sort of error. Making sweeping statements about life that defy actual events. Then again, it is hard to resist given the Scriptures seem to make promises about such things. Raise your children right and they will turn out right. Do the right thing and you will prosper. Take the Lord’s side and he will guard you against harm. Ask him for healing and he will heal you. Believe you have got something and it is actually yours.
It needs to be said bluntly: such promises don’t always come true. We can go into matters of context and interpretation, we can argue about the precise nature of the fulfilment of the promises. But in the end, we are faced with a problem. Just what promises can we believe? Do we ditch them all as pious fantasies? Do we claim them and stubbornly deny our painful and unfulfilled reality?
Perhaps we need to simply accept the mystery of life as it is in this out-of-shape world where not even God has his own way. Perhaps we do best to look to the cross and see there that God is for us and we can rely on his love however hard it might be to identify it at any given time. For me, I have to conclude that God has promised me himself in Jesus and all the rest is up for grabs.