What is your view of Job 1:21, where it says, "The Lord gives and the Lord took away"? I really struggle with the concept that our "problems" are from God.
Well, I don’t blame you for that. You should struggle with the concept that your problems are from God because they’re not. Our problems are not from God.
When the Bible says “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away” what does the Bible really mean? What does the Scripture really mean that “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away?” The Lord gives blessing. As we put the Old Testament together with the New Testament, the Lord gives blessing and He takes away cursing. The Lord gives joy and He takes away depression. The Lord gives peace and He takes away unrest. The Lord gives hope and He takes away hopelessness. The Lord gives encouragement and He takes away discouragement.
So it’s true that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but we need to define what is it that He gives. The Bible says that He gives the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness. Throughout Scripture we see that whenever God gives something, He gives something good to take away something bad. He gives provision to take away lack. He gives healing to take away sickness. He gives salvation to take away destruction. See, that’s God’s nature and that’s how God operates.
My friend is not a Christian and she posed a couple of questions. She’s wondering where God is when you need Him. She said that her mother died when she was 19. She wondered why God, who is supposed to be love, would let something like that happen when someone like Saddam Hussein, who may have been killing many people, still lives. How can I help her get to know who God is better?
Those are great questions. To your friend, I extend my compassion and my
sympathy to her for the loss of her mother when she was a child. I think every
one of us has lost somebody close to us at a critical age in our lives. I was 15
when one of my best friends committed suicide and I didn’t know God or Jesus at
the time. All I knew at the time was, “Wow. He had everything going for him. He
had one of the greatest girlfriends in the school. He was a catcher on the
baseball team. He was handsome. He was smart. He had all the friends that one
could have and I have none of that and he killed himself.” I thought to myself,
the same thing that your friend is wondering: “Where is God when you need Him?
What is going to keep me from doing the same thing?”
The answer to the question is, God is one prayer away for every one of us. All
that we have to do, all your friend has to do, is say, “Jesus, if you’re really
there, as they say you are, come and rescue me from my depression. Come and
rescue me from my confusion. Come and show yourself and reveal yourself.” The
Bible says in Jeremiah 33:3 that “if you call upon Him, He will answer.” The
Bible says in Romans 10:12, “All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be
saved, delivered, rescued.” You can look throughout the Bible and find
scriptures on God's faithfulness. You know how some people say, “We’re just a
phone call away.” Well, God is just one prayer away. It says in Hebrews chapter
11, “For all who come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder
of those who diligently seek Him.” Now, He’s not going to reveal Himself to a
casual inquirer that doesn’t really have sincerity in their heart and doesn’t
really care whether He reveals Himself to them or not but He will to those who
diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:5-6 says that if you will cry out to Him; if you
will call out to Him; if you will seek Him and ask Him to show Himself and
reveal Himself to you; He absolutely will. He will. He will. He will.
You tell your friend that she is loved. God does love her. There is a devil in
the world that tries to snuff out our families, our relatives, our loved ones.
God is not the taker of life; God is the giver of life. John 10:10 says, “The
thief, the devil, comes to steal, kill and destroy. But Jesus has come that we
would have life and have it in abundance.” These are some of the things that I
would say to her or to anybody in that situation.
We’ll never know the answer to everything until we get to heaven. But, we can
know this, that God is a prayer away. Just the name of Jesus coming off of her
lips will draw Him to her. The Bible says in James 4:4, “Draw near to Me and I
will draw near to you.” The apostle Paul also said in Acts chapter 9, “Who are
you Lord?” And the Lord revealed Himself to the Apostle Paul before he was an
apostle, before he was a Christian. If she’ll just call out to Him and cry out
to Him, He will answer. He is not far. He is one prayer away. God will be with
you. He will never leave you or forsake you when you call upon Him.
You can’t get to know Him “better” if you don’t even think He’s there. First
start by calling out to Him and go to those Scriptures that we just went over
and those will cause her to know him better. When you know Jesus, you know God.
Read the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. When you read about Jesus
Christ, you’re reading about God Himself. When you see Jesus in the Bible,
you’re seeing God himself. There are those that are living right now, that they
are not born again, that feel like God is nowhere to be found, but if they will
call upon Him right now, the Bible says He will answer. The Bible says, “Call
out to Him while He is near, cry out to Him while He can be found.” When your
heart is moving you, when your heart is stirring you, when you know He’s out
there, but you just don’t know what to do, that’s the time to call upon Him.
I was seeing that the Bible talks to us about Jesus as a child and then again about when He was an adult and the start of His ministry. I was wondering if there’s anything that refers to Jesus between those two times.
Well, there’s nothing in the Bible that speaks to us about those times in His
life when He was a teenager or in between the time when He was a baby and the
time of His earthly ministry except for in Luke chapter two when He was twelve
years old. His parents found Him in the temple listening to the Word of God and
asking questions of the teachers and the Pharisees and the leaders of the
synagogue at that time. He told His parents, “I had to be about my Father’s
So, at twelve years old, He was about His Father’s business. One can only
imagine how much of His Father’s business He was involved in by the time He was
sixteen or eighteen years old. Certainly, we know that He was without sin and so
He must have had a very powerful teenage life.
He didn’t do a miracle until in John chapter two when He turned the water into
wine, which is His first recorded miracle that we have in the Bible. But I’m
sure He obeyed God. I’m sure He served God. And I’m sure He worked for His
father as a carpenter. “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” they asked about Him.
And He had brothers and sisters.
So, Jesus had an incredible life, very normal in some ways, but very
supernatural in other ways. But no preaching, no teaching, no miracles until the
time that He was around thirty years old.
Our teenaged children can truly serve God if you’ll believe God for that and if
you’ll train them in the way they should go and trust God that He will touch
their life and He will lead them.
Did God create everything and is He all-powerful?
Well, He didn’t create some of the mess that we’ve created ourselves. So I
would have to say, “No, He didn’t create everything.” But He did create
everything good. When you look in the Bible in Genesis chapter 1, it goes
through God creating the earth and everything in the earth, the heavens and all
that is in them. And after every day of the six days of creation, the Bible says
that God said, “It is good.” And then when He was done with everything, He said,
“Behold, it is very good.” So, creation and goodness are synonymous with God.
Everything that He created was good according to the book of Genesis. So,
anything that’s not good, He didn’t create. Another Scripture that answers that
concern is in James 1:17 which says, “every good and perfect gift comes from God
– or is created by God – and in Him there is no shadow of turning." He doesn’t
change. He’s good and He creates good.
And God is all-powerful, but He doesn’t enforce His power on people who don’t
surrender to Him. So, He can’t make somebody do something that they don’t want
to do. He is all-powerful, but the fact that He is God and that He is light and
He is good demands the existence of something that is not good. The fact that
there’s something that’s not good is what proves how good He really is.
Where did evil come from? Well, it came from Lucifer, the devil. And it came
from Adam’s sin. It certainly didn’t come from God. But He gave man the power to
choose. And the fact that He gave man the power to choose just shows how good He
really is in that He doesn’t just create robots who only choose what is good,
but He’s a God who creates free will people who have the free will to choose
whether they’re going to go for good or go for bad. And you have that choice.
Everyone has that choice to accept Jesus Christ and accept what is good that God
made or to turn away from Jesus Christ and away from what is good.
Is God a man or a woman?
God is God. He is referred to as “He” in the Bible, and that’s what we’re
going to stick with. He has within Himself all the attributes of male and
female; male and female attributes, both came forth from God. God is God.
When God created Adam, He created him male and female, created He them. So Eve
came from Adam’s side. So God definitely contains within Himself all of the
attributes of both male and female. But He is referred to as a “He” in the Bible
and He is referred to as a Father, and so that’s what we’ve got to stick with.