I couldn’t help but kind of laugh at the story out of Haifa, Israel last week. A man went to court to file a restraining order against God. That’s kind of unusual.
Several news organizations reported that the man, David Shoshan, said he didn’t want God to answer his prayers. He feels that God has been very negative towards him and he wishes that God would stop interfering in his life. After the police failed on a number of occasions to do anything about it, the man decided to file a court challenge. God was not represented in court and the judge felt it necessary to throw out the case – a wise move on his part.
How much can we blame God for the bad things that happen in our lives? How much does God interfere in our lives? Mr. Shoshan’s complaint is not new. In fact, Job had a similar problem thousands of years ago. Life seldom seems fair. Job was an upright and honest man…yet he suffered. His family and livelihood had been wiped out. His friends told him it was his fault. Couldn’t God just leave him alone?
Job questioned why God would allow bad things to happen even though he lived a godly life. He wrestled with challenging God to answer while never accusing God of wrongdoing. Through it all, Job never turned against God. In fact, he said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” (Job 13:15)
Job was frustrated by God’s silence. He couldn’t help but keep asking, “why me?” Why is it that bad things happen to good people? Why is it that good things happen to bad people? These are ageless questions and there are no easy answers.
For believers, even in our moments of doubt, we must stay open to inviting God into our pain and confusion. That’s what Job did. He kept believing that God was good and would be fair in the end. The writer of Psalm 73 also dealt with these challenging questions. He concludes that what really matters is that we have a relationship with God.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26)
We may not always understand what God is up to. We may not like the course of events that our life is taking. But filing a restraining order against God isn’t the way to go. Instead, we need to move closer to him, being patient in our pain and confident in his goodness. It’s not easy to do that, but it is necessary.