Job’s wife said, “Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9)
Well, I’ve never been as badly off as Job was at the time. He had lost his children and his wealth in a single day and was covered in sores ready to die.
She was expecting him to die. She too had lost her children and all her wealth but unlike Job, she saw God as the cause of his problems. She was acting in a natural way, badly hurt and suffering.
Job though, took all this in his stride because he trusted in God.
“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job said (Job 2:10B).
Some 30 years ago I was a deacon at our church; we had recently parted with our pastor due to health issues and were in the process of seeking a new pastor.
As churches do, we received a list of available people with a brief on each of them and a recommendation from the State body…… and we prayed earnestly before making our first decision.
As a group we interviewed our perceived best candidate and later called him to the position however, he replied the position did not suit him, the town was too small for his wife’s business.
Stunned, we went back to the State body, already some three months ‘down the track’ for a new list of those available.
We went through the business of earnestly praying, seeking God’s will and then interviewing those we felt God was leading us towards.
Funny how many pastors are led to accept a calling from coastal churches rather than those from west of The Range or inland country Australia.
Again, after a period of several months, we were back at the beginning.
Now I must say, while all this was happening, our ‘body’ was doing fine. We had several people stand-up and preach, a number take on pastoral care roles, a number who undertook welfare and hospital visitations and there appeared no urgency to employ a full-time pastor.
Still we proceeded, only to find on the third list obtained, the bottom-placed name on the two previous lists appeared at the top with a glowing report of a changed man, an excellent resume and a recommendation.
In due course we interviewed this man or perhaps I could say his wife interviewed us. She was rather forward, had strong opinions and wasn’t what one would expect in a pastor’s wifeand yet God seemed to lead us into accepting this quiet, small and softly spoken man to be our new pastor.
We took a recommendation to the church but did put before them the strong-willed wife. Never-the-less, he was called and accepted, after all, we were calling him, not her.
My wife and I were cleaning and preparing the Manse when he and his family arrived several days early, so eager was he to start, and we formed a bond on the spot.
Let me move on perhaps two years or a little more.
The new pastor was in the process of a divorce, his wife had changed her name and taken the children, he had been hospitalised with mental health issues, he was badly in need of support and wasn’t coping well at all – but still the ‘body’ kept moving forward sustained by those same leaders who had taken pastoral roles previous to the arrival.
Personally, I was devastated. How could God have led us down this path?It seemed completely wrong to me; I just couldn’t understand.
Instead of a pastor, we had a ‘basket case.’ How could this be what God wanted?
Another year, now with a part-time interim pastor and I had resigned from the diaconate, disconsolate and depressed at how the situation had turned out, thinking perhaps I hadn’t sought God’s will earnestly enough, had done something wrong and wasn’t worthy of the position.
It took several years, a new pastor and some counselling before I came to realise God’s will had been done.
How could it be?
As I look back I can now see this man needed our people, not the other way around, this ‘body’ of people who had stood up in time of need and provided the support necessary for the man to recover both physically and mentally and to have his faith in God restored.
God’s way is not our way.
God bought a man in need to a place where he could be helped, I just couldn’t see it at the time.
We need to accept God’s way beyond question, as did Job.
In the end, all was restored twice over to Job as it will be for us.
Isaiah chapter 55 verses 8-9says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
John Skinner is a retired journalist who has written nine biographies on famous campdrafting competitors. He was an Australian infantry soldier wounded in Vietnam, served six years as a Police Officer, was CEO of the then Australian Rough Riders Assn (Pro-Rodeo based in Warwick, Qld). He and his wife Marion retired to a small farm 25km south of Warwick 20 years ago. They have three children and now seven grandchildren.
John Skinner is a retired journalist who has written ten biographies on famous campdrafting competitors. He was an Australian infantry soldier wounded in Vietnam, served six years as a Police Officer, was CEO of the then Australian Rough Riders Assn (Pro-Rodeo based in Warwick, Qld). He and his wife Marion retired to a small farm 25km south of Warwick 20 years ago. They have three children and now seven grandchildren.