Do you believe accidents are outside the providence of God? Pastor Lutzer discusses the mystery of the will of God in light of natural disasters—gleaning wisdom from the book of Job. In today’s episode, Pastor shares the testimony of a modern-day “Job”—a true story of a Christian couple thrown into unspeakable grief and how they offered up praise to God through it all. Originally Published: Jan 25, 2021
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us today as we discuss the topic of “Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters: What is God saying to us?” Now, If you were with us last time, you know that I told about the story of Job and I did that because Satan was given permission by God to bring about two natural disasters. One was lightning that destroyed Job’s cattle and a windstorm that blew over the house and killed his ten children.
Now, you know the rest of the story. I won’t take time to read it. Job then later on is plagued with boils and that also was brought about by the devil but notice carefully it was under God’s supervision. God said to Satan, “You can do this, but you can’t do that.” This should build faith in our hearts as we begin to think of Satan, to realize that he is under God’s authority. He isn’t just out there creating havoc and God is not looking at him and making sure that he is staying within the parameters that have been laid out for him. That’s really a separate story but important when we even talk about demonic warfare but back to Job. Alright, there he is and his wife says to him, “Curse God and die.” Now I have in my file a number of people who have written me letters who have said, look, let’s not be hard on her, she didn’t actually mean, “Curse God and die,” she meant, “Bless God and die.” And the reason that they say that is because, interestingly in Hebrew, the word bless and the word curse are essentially the same word, only the context tells the difference. But of course, she meant curse God and die. She didn’t mean bless God and die. As a matter of fact, earlier it was Satan who said to God, “Take away everything that Job has and he will curse you to your face.” That’s why Job says, “You are speaking as a foolish woman speaks. Shall we not receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?” And Job blessed God.
Let me tell you a modern Job story. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. On November the 8th, 1994, Pastor Scott Willis and his wife, Janet were travelling along near Milwaukee, Wisconsin and I’ll tell you the story. A piece of metal fell from a truck and they had to drive over it. The van explodes, Scott and Janet are able to get out only with burns that, you know, healed after a period of time. Six children are in the van. One, Benjamin, is able to get out of the van and he is helicoptered to a hospital, but he dies the next day. Now, just visualize what is happening. The van is burning. Scott and Janet are out on the highway fully conscious waiting for an ambulance. Now, Scott says to Janet—and I’ve checked this out because they are very good friends of ours. Rebecca and I have been in their homes, we’ve traveled in different parts of the world together—Scott says to Janet, “We’re ready for this because they are with the Lord.” And then imagine this: before they get into the ambulance, God says to Janet, “Quote the verse we have just learned.” And what is that verse? It’s one that I want you to memorize, if you don’t already know it. I quote it to the Lord almost every morning. Psalm 34:1—”I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Can you believe that out on the highway, instead of cursing God, they blessed God. Like Job they were willing to say, “Let God be God.”
Now, we could go into this, think of all the contingencies: If that piece of metal had fallen a little earlier or if it had bounced into the ditch, if Scott and Janet had started out that trip a little earlier or a little later it all would have turned out differently. But they take all these contingencies and I’ve discussed this with them and if you can visualize, you write your contingencies on a chalkboard, then take a circle and encircle all of those contingencies and write above them: “The Providence of God.” I want to ask you a question today. Some of you are going through great trials. Are you angry with God? Are you wishing you could just curse Him? Job says, “I will bless God.” “Shall we not receive also evil from the hand of God and only good?” Well, today you have your assignment. Psalm 34:1. Memorize it; quote it often, “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continue to be in my mouth.” Let us learn to bless God. Thank you so much for joining us today and please join us again next time as we continue our study of “Pandemics, Plagues and Natural Disasters.” And as for today, you just go with God.