***I am using the word forgiving in this way: letting go of resentment or negative feelings or bitterness toward another.***
It is easy to praise God when things are sweet and rosy.
How many of us have the view of God that He is good only if everything is smooth and easy? Is God only good when we have the explanation for why things do not work out the way we want? Is God only good if we understand why we have suffered and hurt? And, that goodness is still all dependent if we agree that those reasons are acceptable?
Is God good when we just don’t understand the bad? Has God changed character when we cannot make sense of horrific tragedy like: the concentration camps of the Holocaust; the genocide in Uganda; the oppression and torture in the Congo; children trafficked, abused and used as drug mules along the U.S./Mexico border; and the everyday suffering victims of abuse, addicts and the homeless endure? Is it the fact that God has changed, or we have lived an unspoken lie about the character of God?
Job’s wife had it all for a long time. She was blessed with material wealth, a godly husband, and 10 children. Based on Satan’s charges to God about Job (Job 1:9-11), it is implied that her life was pretty stress free from any major problems. There is no indication that she resented Job praising God when things were good.
Sadly, life went south for Job’s wife. She lost all her children and material riches in one day (1:13-19)! Afterwards, she looked on as her husband as he was plagued by a skin condition that could be described as nothing less than disgusting (2:4-8). Her pain from loss and suffering drove her to speak the unthinkable to Job: “Are you still holding on to your integrity? CURSE GOD AND DIE (2:9)!”
For Job’s wife, holding onto the idea of God being good was ridiculous in light of what they lost. God being good was acceptable to believe as long as things were, in her mind, good. How many of us have ever felt that way or at least tempted to think that way? How many of us have been taught about the goodness of God that does not factor in pain and suffering?
Harboring resentment and hate towards God can happen when we consider God is good only based on conditions being good, healthy, and easy. In order to forgive God, we must reframe how we judge God as good. What are the criteria?
Have you ever felt like Job’s wife, even close to it?
If so, how much of it was influenced by your expectations of God?