Tornados and the Story of Job

Several days ago I watched a weather forecast which included tornado watches stretching from Buffalo, NY, to Dallas, Texas—2,000 miles!

In the wake of the heart-breaking devastation in Joplin I’ve been thinking about the insurance industry’s category for claims known as “acts of God.” That phrase has led me back to the Old Testament story of Job. One of Job’s losses is described in this way: “While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!’ ” (Job 1:18-19 NKJV).

No doubt, Job would weep with those who lost their homes and loved ones. He lost both and suffered other great losses. But a careful reading of the story reveals a focus not on Job but on the challenge Satan brings to God. The devil charged: “People are followers of God because You are good to them. You build a hedge of protection around Your people. Dismantle the wall, withdraw Your goodness, and Your followers will curse You to Your face!” Job’s losses were all a part of God’s permissive will. God drew a line in the sand and said, “This far and no further.” Would Job’s tornado of losses be enough to push him over the edge so that he would doubt God’s goodness and power?

Will the spring of 2011, with its multitude of storms resulting in losses of life and property, be enough to cause us to say, “Where is God in all of this?” Hopefully we will answer, “Right where He was in the Job story.”

Where are we? Can we join Job in saying: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15)? Do we have that kind of faith in our own seasons of tornadoes?

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