Editor’s Note: Pastor Scott Peterson is sharing daily devotions written by some of his favorite authors. The author’s biography and any notes by Pastor Scott are listed at the end of the devotion.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
God Has Hated Me
“Surely now God has worn me out; he has made desolate all my company. And he has shriveled me up. He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me. God gives me up to the ungodly, and casts me into the hands of the wicked. I was at ease and he broke me asunder; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces; he sets me up as his target, his archers surround me. He slashes open my kidneys and does not spare; he pours out my gall on the ground. He breaks me with breach upon breach; he runs upon me like a warrior” (Job 16:7-14).
This is perhaps the lowest point in the mountainous terrain of the book of Job. Here the suffering one bluntly accuses God of being an active enemy. In dramatic detail he pictures the Lord’s attack. I lived with this book for many years, believing that this picture of the Enemy God was overdrawn and untrue to the believer’s experience.
“It can’t be as bad as that!” I thought. The change came, for me, when my own 11-year-old led me into the deep valley of her pain.
She had post-polio surgery involving muscle transplants, radical incisions in the foot and leg. Pain was intense, especially throughout the night following surgery. I remember her mother and I standing at her bedside that morning, saddened by her drawn face and fevered lips-evidence of the anguish she had endured. My wife spoke to her omfortingly, “But you did pray, though, didn’t you?” Looking almost defiantly at us, the child exclaimed, “Yes. But mother last night, for a while it seemed like God was my enemy!”
Since then I have reflected that if a child can be required to endure such a fearful sense of abandonment, this experience cannot be far from any of us. And I must add that in the intervening years I, too, have looked into such an abyss of spiritual desolation.
It is best to be realistic about the blackouts and eclipses which can come without warning, even to those who have lived with God through the high places and low places of many years. We are indebted to all believers of every age who have survived the wild and lonely heights and valleys of desolation, and reported back to us that God is there.
(This devotion is from Frost 1977
Gerhard Frost (1909 – 1988) was a Lutheran Pastor, a college and seminary professor, and a poet. A student and friend of his described him this way, “…beloved by all who knew him. He had a Lincolnesque combination of strength and quietness about him.” That is an apt description of Gerhard Frost when I met him in 1978. As a guest speaker, he read his poetry at my internship congregation, Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Wadena, MN.
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