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Then Job gave a feast for his brothers and sisters and for his old friends. They expressed their sorrow for the suffering the Lord had brought on him, and they each gave Job some silver and a gold ring. Job 42:11 (CEV)

A friend of mine was in a horrific accident a few years ago. Before the accident John (not his real name) was known for his temper. When things were going well he was a friendly cordial business man in our small town. When things weren’t going well everyone knew to stay out of his way. The problem escalated when John had been drinking. He wasn’t just an angry man, he was (by his own admission) and angry alcoholic.

As a result of his accident, John lost both of his legs. He was in a medically induced coma for several weeks to allow the brain and body to heal properly. When the day came to wake him up, everyone was ready for the worst. It didn’t happen. John woke up fully accepting the news of his legs and with a completely different personality. John also woke up completely surrendered to Jesus Christ.

John tells me that he had accepted Christ over 15 years earlier, but had chosen to live his own way. He was never happy. Guilt was a part of his life. Misery was temporarily dulled by chemicals but the chemicals always demanded more.

John is quick to tell anyone that will listen that the accident that took his legs was no accident at all. It was God’s way of bringing him to complete surrender to him. He takes full responsibility for his actions.

When horrible things happen to you or to others, how do you respond? Do you become bitter? Do you become angry? Do you play your entire deck of blame game cards? Sometimes things happen in our lives that we can point to as direct consequences of our actions. Other times, things happen in our lives for no apparent reason. How we respond in either situation tells us what our character is like.

John will tell you he is suffering the consequences of sin. Job was a man in the Bible who suffered terribly as well. He lost his children, his wealth and his health. Yet he remained faithful to God. God never explained to Job why he allowed those things to happen, but when his time of testing was over he was completely restored. Once restored Job held a great party for all his family and friends. He wasn’t bitter about his losses. He wasn’t angry over unwarranted pain and suffering. He was thankful to a God who is both mysterious and faithful. When God allows something unjust or justified to happen to us we can become angry, we can become bitter or we can endure and then celebrate.

PRAYER: Father God, when I’m honest with myself I have to admit that many of my struggles are my own doing and I deserve what I get. Other times I question your actions. Show me how I can live a life of celebration based on who you are, not on what I want. Amen.

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