<shrugs> It's Tommy's first win. I'm sure he's trying to make his contest count. Right @tommythehitman?
Maybe it's Satan's fault your life is going downhill.
He'll try you for certain. But we are creatures of free will. We make the choices that lead us into bad circumstances, and at some point, we have to accept the consequences to be able to climb out of it.
Like with my house? I did nothing wrong. I moved to Vegas to get reliable work. I got it. I did well at it. I got laid off because the company didn't want to pay me the money anymore. I bought the house when things were good. I lost the house because I lost the job and couldn't find another one. I got in a financial hole because I lost the house and couldn't find the job. My credit tanked because I couldn't pay bills.
I had to roll with it. I had to accept that my credit was going to suck until I could improve it, and until I could, my credit cards would go unpaid. Yeah, they got cancelled, but that was all I could do. And my credit score was 747 when I went house shopping. As a joke, I like to say that my credit turned so upside down that my credit score went from 707 to LOL. :}
I had to accept that meals had to come from 99 cent packs of hotdogs that made me break out instead of going to Applebee's all the time.
I had to accept that I couldn't afford to withhold taxes from my unemployment. I had to accept that I would owe the IRS because of this. I had to accept making a payment arrangement with them. For a few months, I had to accept that I couldn't even pay them. I had to accept that I couldn't even afford the gas to drive to the IRS building to work something else out.
I had to accept a whole lot of things over the last six years, because of a layoff that was beyond my control. It happens.
What I did not have to accept was defeat.
I have climbed a long way out of that hole, and I'm still climbing. And I'm just trying to climb back to normal footing right now- I'm not trying to scale a mountain here. But I'll get there. And spiritually speaking, I believe that Satan will try to prevent me getting there, but God will make sure that I can.
Bad things happen because we have to make choices. We can't always know the outcome of those choices. Moving to Vegas for work was a good choice. Buying a home when they were cheap and I could afford it was a good choice. How could I know the economy would tank and I'd lose the job and house? I made choices for my life, and some of them ultimately didn't work out.
Because the circumstances forced me to move back East though, I had a place for my mom when she needed it, and I was here when my grandma died- I got to hear her say "I love you too sweetheart" a final time before she died. I wouldn't have gotten to hear that if I were still living and working in Vegas. So did God allow me to lose my job, more comfortable lifestyle, house, and furniture? Yes, he allowed it. But like he eventually told Job: he's God, I'm not. He knows what's going on; I don't. He knew if I was still in Vegas, I wouldn't have been in a position to both help my mom and have those final moments with my grandmother. And he knows what else is coming down the road. I don't.
Looking at what Job went through and calling God cruel is the same as what Job's friends did, so if you do that, you're really missing the point. The point was Job didn't curse God, and God blessed him on the other side of those troubles. All that crud inbetween was just stuff. Survivable stuff. Sometimes stuff is hard. It passes.
@cbishop: I like hearing interpretations that are unique. I think the example of Job just cruel. But you say maybe this was to teach satan something. What could satan learn from this example?
Satan basically accused Job of being a fair weather follower- only devoted to God because he had it good. So God sent Satan to see that he was wrong. Job stayed faithful, but basically said the same thing as @batwatch- "I don't have an answer for this," but he still believed in and honored God. So when it was all done, God schooled everybody on their attitudes and questions. Did Satan learn anything from it? Who knows? He's Satan.
Do I have an answer for why God would allow bad things to happen in the first place? Nope. But outside of Job, there's a verse that says God doesn't give us more than we can handle, and another that says God can turn even the bad things in our life to good. I stand on those quite often- more often than I'd like to have to- but here's the thing about life: you survive, or you die. The trials we face in life are always surmountable. I'm talking about trials, not deadly situations. Deadly situations are called that because they will kill you; at that point, you don't have to worry about life anymore. Trials are something that will try you, and you will see how you react and what you are made of.
I'll try to keep this short, but the best example I can give is a personal one:
For five years, I lived in Las Vegas. I moved there from a state that simply didn't have jobs, where I was making barely above minimum wage at anything I was given by a temp agency. In Vegas, I immediately went to work for a company that started me at two dollars higher than anything I had made in the poorer state. Over the next five years, my pay rose by eight dollars, and I was managing the company's warehouse. Then suddenly, the economy went bust in Vegas, and the VP of the company sat down in my office, and told me the company was cutting back, and I was part of that- I got laid off literally because I made too much money.
Two months later, I was preparing to walk away from my house and move back East, but my mom suddenly needed to move in with me (the economy took her down too). Her living with me enabled me to keep my house for another year. I wasn't paying on the house, because I didn't have the money, so I lived in the house for free until I had another option. So even though we were unemployed, virtually broke, and still paying utilities and groceries, we had free rent. Bad turned to good there.
Fourteen months after I got laid off, I left the house in a realtor's hands, gave away or sold all my furniture, and moved back East. Mom moved to Texas for a job. It took me another year to find a job here. Unemployment ran out the day I got hired, but I didn't start for another month. I gave rides to friends for five and ten dollars, sometimes putting that money right back in my tank. I was also able to do $50 jobs for my dad a few times. I was renting a room in a house, and the lady I was renting from let me live there for free for two months, when I was ready to move out because I couldn't pay her.
About seven or eight months after I started working, my landlady got a little mental, so I got my own apartment. Oddly, supply and demand made two bedrooms cheaper than one bedrooms, so I got a two bedroom townhouse. Still basically broke, I got to a point that my sister-in-law gave me two grocery bags full of basically junk- single serv bags of potato chips, snack cups of peaches, and pudding cups. I was eating a pudding cup or a bag of chips for a meal (not both)! Wanting more, but knowing if I ate another one, I wouldn't have it for the next meal. It was that bad.
I had been there about a year when mom needed to come back here, because my grandmother's health was failing. Mom needed a place to stay. I had that extra bedroom. So bad turned to good again. And my bills were eventually cut a little with mom helping me while she was here.
Remember I said I sold or gave away all of my furniture? Through gifts, inheritances (two grandmothers have passed since I returned here), and various cheap purchases at Goodwill, I find myself overwhelmed with too much furniture (a situation I'm trying to remedy). I had items I had to leave in storage in the poorer state when I moved to Vegas, and I was finally able to go get that. I now have so much stuff, I have two storage units, besides my overcrowded apartment. How does that happen? No, I'm asking: how does that happen?
Once again though, I find myself financially stretched to the limit. I see light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm stressing groceries, and gas for the car. I've eaten a lot of sandwiches and Chef Boy-R-Dee lately. Internet is the only extraneous bill I have (no, I don't have cable TV), and with opportunities I've gotten from friends online, I don't know that I can even call it an extraneous bill. It's become part of how I do business- stuff I couldn't do without it.
This is gotten long when I said I'd try not to do that, but believe me, I've only told you the surface of it. There's plenty of ups and downs, happiness, heartbreak and arguments in the parts I left out. Through it all though, I cannot bring myself to curse God. Question him? Oh sure. That's allowed. Even encouraged. But you have to be willing to hear the answers.
We were created with free will. Sometimes, free will isn't in what we do, as circumstances or people can force us in a certain direction. In those times, our free will is exercised in how we react to those circumstances or people. Does Job curse God for his circumstances? Does Joseph curse God because he's a slave to Pharaoh? Does he curse Pharaoh? Does he curse his slavery? Being falsely accused by Pharaoh's wife? His imprisonment? None of the above, and further, he didn't become bitter and withhold help he was able to give when the needs arose. And those choices eventually lifted him to being second only to Pharaoh. Now not everyone can be second to Pharaoh. But we can exercise our free will in positive manners, rather than negative. I can only say that God takes care of the rest. Nobody has to believe me when I say that (free will again), but this is what my experience tells me. We could debate that all year long, but I take it on faith that it's God, and not random chance. So despite current financial hardships, I will survive, and God will come through. And not so long from now, I will wonder how I ever could have been so low. That's just the way it happens.
Or I will die. <shrugs>
Either way, my troubles will be through. ;)
I'd rather trust God though, and see what else is beyond this circumstance, because this is only temporary.
I realize I got off of the Job example and onto something else, but that's the thing- this thing helps you understand that thing, helps you understand this circumstance, helps you understand life. You can't get stuck on things so that they drive you crazy.
Going back to Job though- did God really do something cruel to Job? Satan would have destroyed Job utterly. God limited what he could do- "what he has is yours, but you can't touch the man." That's not horrible. As someone who has lost practically everything, I promise you that losing everything is survivable. Your stuff may end, but you will not. Actually, when I lost my stuff, I felt more free than I had felt in years. I feel almost oppressed by the overload of stuff I have now. lol ...This is not a bad problem to have!
I chalk that up to God. You don't have to- that's free will. ;)
(Sorry this got so long)
*White phosphorous bullets are actually a real thing, but I'm listing them so I remember that Solomon has them at his disposal. -cb
|Comic Characters used in this fic:|
Strictly Business, by Dan Zollinger on Inprnt.com. This was the pic I gave for story inspiration for CCC #36.
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