Wordly distractions mask our true purpose

By  Leila Wong-Ko-Nang, Youth Speak News
  • January 17, 2008

Pain. Loss. Injustice. In these situations some common questions we ask are what is the cause of my misery? Why do corrupt people seem to gain the greatest rewards like success and wealth, while practiSing Christian believers appear to suffer? I frequently read the Old Testament, particularly the story of Job, because it holds the answers to these questions. 

Job was an innocent man who suffered loss and pain through no fault of his own. He was blameless in the eyes of God, yet lost all his possessions, family and health.

“Why do the wicked live on, reach old age and grow mighty in power? Their houses are safe from fear, and no rod of God is upon them,” asked Job (21:7).

I have often found myself in Job’s place, asking the same questions he cried out to God.

In a world where the conflict between secularism and Christianity increases I find it  difficult to keep my morals and faith strong when it seems that every effort made in the pursuit of good is returned by a response of evil.

As a child I was a victim of bullying. Throughout high school I faced endless pressures to keep up the status quo and to attain unattainable consumerist standards. And now, after graduating from university, I see injustice at its peak in power-hungry, money-driven corporations. The message youth hear is that faith and virtue will get them nowhere and to gain “success” they must surrender to the ugly dominating face of human greed.

Often I have blamed God for my problems just as Job did. “Did I not weep for those whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the poor? But when I looked for good, evil came; and when I waited for light, darkness came,” said Job (30: 25-26). In other words, if I am doing God’s will, why am I not reaping the rewards I justly deserve?

I have often been told life is one big test and like Job, I have asked God, “What are human beings, that you make so much of them and test them every moment?” (7:17)

Yet this powerful story made me realize when faced with loss and injustice not to blame God as it is impossible for us to fully comprehend Him. God did not initiate the injustice against Job, Satan did. God merely allowed bad things to happen because He was confident that Job would endure them. God will never allow us to experience something we cannot handle. Each time Satan tested Job, God set a restriction, stating “he is in your power; only spare his life!”  (2:6). Moreover, the closer one is to God, the more one will be tested. Satan targeted Job because he was the most blameless in God's eyes. 

Like Job, I have been self-righteous and justified myself rather than God. It is easy to  preach patience to the suffering; yet once we find ourselves in bad situations, why are we so impatient and quickly fall into self-pity?

Although “good” things may appear to happen to “evil” people, we should not seek revenge or reject God. God always restores justice. “Though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great” (8:7).

(Wong-Ko-Nang, 22, is a recent graduate of the Christianity and Culture program at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto.)  

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