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Pastor Bill Ehmann, Wood Village Baptist Church

The privilege of personal choice is a gift to humans from Creator God. The natural world operates within boundaries that God designed. A rose cannot decide to produce apples; the moon cannot choose to be like a star. Humans have the benefit of choice, and it comes with consequence – positive or negative.

When the first humans were in the Garden of Eden, they made a poor choice by believing the lie of counterfeit god, Satan. Life on Planet Earth was changed in that all humans would struggle with the desire to choose less than best life opportunities. History reveals the constant effort of Satan luring people into hurtful choices while Creator God offers hope and power to make good ones. Choice followed by consequence is the story of human history that continues to be written today.

In most situations, it is not difficult to determine the consequence of our choice. If we made a poor one, we can understand the hurt that resulted. A good choice most likely will bring a desirable response. There is a troubling area between these two options that is often described with a question: “Why do good things happen to people who make poor choices and bad things come to people who make good ones?”

I have found some insight to this question by a study of the Book of Job in the Bible. This man is described with a personal character that every human should desire. While we know he was a man, to be considered “blameless” is as close to perfect as one can imagine. But to him came some of the most devastating experiences imaginable.

While enduring the loss of children and possessions, Job remained committed to Creator God. When friends accused him of deserving his misfortune because of personal behavior, he knew better. His life was an example of kindness – the sort of neighbor anyone would desire. There is no evidence that his difficult life was the result of poor choices.

Eventually, God declared that the friends were wrong and had Job pray for them. He restored all of Job’s losses – in double proportion – and gave him many more years of the good life. The story concludes with an amazing statement from God about Who He is.

I am fascinated to realize that there is no indication in the story that Job knew why he went through this experience. We are told that Creator God and counterfeit god, Satan, were in a challenge over Job’s commitment. Satan was allowed to bring all of this heartache to Job to try to make him deny God, while God was demonstrating that Job would remain faithful.

The story helps me partially answer the question of “why good things happen to people who make poor choices and bad things come to those who make good ones.” In Job’s life, the Creator was making a statement to the counterfeit and it had nothing to do with Job’s personal choices. When bad things come to people who do good, it might be God demonstrating His power and faithfulness, and when good things come to people who do bad things, He most likely is showing his Grace and patience. Eventually, their consequence will come.

I do not understand a lot about the Story of Job but I appreciate his commitment. I am confident that God honors good choices with appropriate blessing – both now and forever.

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