In the movie IRobot, Detective Del Spooner, played by Will Smith, is investigating the death of a dear friend, Doctor Alfred Lanning, the father of the three laws of Robotics. At first, the Doctor’s death appears to be suicide, but then, aided by a holographic “memory” of the now deceased doctor, the detective begins suspecting foul play. To the first few questions asked to the holograph the response was not what Detective Spooner wanted, they focused on why he, a homicide detective would be called on for a suicide. Finally the Detective switched his perspective and asked the question differently, from the Doctor’s perspective,
"That, Detective is the right question."
While the Doctor doesn't answer directly the question burning in the brain of the Detective, his response gives the Detective the path that will ultimately lead to a final showdown with the evil that is running amuck in this sci-fi film.
This exchange echoes in my head and heart as I have sought of late to change my perspective on life and ask the right questions.
I lost my job in April, it was unexpected and abrupt as terminations usually are. This began a journey over the next 9 months of looking for a new job, all the while wondering what good I was and questioning God and why he would allow me and my family to suffer this pain and potentially disastrous financial fallout.
“Why can't I just get a job?”
“Why can't I take care of my family?”
“Why are you playing with me?”
“Why won’t anyone hire me?”
Then something happened and I stopped blaming God. My questions turned deeper, and began seeking God.
“God, what do I need to learn from this time?”
“How can I praise you in this storm?”
“Help me be a Godly father during this trial”
“This hurts, please comfort us in our pain!”
You know what happened? I still couldn’t find a job, but what I found was much more than a job, I found a place of peace. I realized that God had never left me and my family. I was just looking in the wrong places for Him. Like detective Spooner I believe I was asking the wrong question. My questions to God were "Me" centered, selfish.
Do I believe God cares about my job? Well, yes and no. Yes he cares for our housing and food and clothing; read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. But He is more concerned with the greater issues of my heart than with the issues of my pocketbook and especially my pride.
Now, before I declare myself cured of all selfishness and errant thoughts you should know that I am still very much in the midst of this process. I wanted to write about it though, because as I look around I see so many people suffering and hurting as businesses fail, houses are taken away, and lives are torn apart and all. This, seemingly, while God just “stands by” and watches. You and I are not the first to accuse God of ignoring those in pain, look at the Bible for the story of Job, a man who had everything he needed in life and suddenly it was all taken from him? Job had a right to be ticked, and ticked he was. Sitting on the ground covered in ashes listening to the “advice” of some friends, Job unleashes his feelings about his life:
"Why does God bother giving light to the miserable, why bother keeping bitter people alive, Those who want in the worst way to die, and can't, who can't imagine anything better than death, Who count the day of their death and burial the happiest day of their life? What's the point of life when it doesn't make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?”
Don’t be afraid to tell God how you feel, He can take it. But after you get it all out, spend some time listening to what God is telling you. He does love you and He does care about your every day needs. Even Job, before he has everything restored remembered God,
“Still, I know that God lives—the One who gives me back my life—and eventually he'll take his stand on earth. And I'll see him—even though I get skinned alive!—see God myself, with my very own eyes. Oh, how I long for that day!”
A bit dramatic maybe, I don’t think I will get skinned alive, at least not in this country. But I do long for the day when I will see God with my own eyes, I pray I will be ready. This pain and suffering is God getting me ready, purifying me, purifying you. Don’t waste this time, and this pain, seek after God with all you have and see what He does. I’ll be honest, it may suck, Jesus does not promise us an easy life. John, one of Jesus’ friends and disciples, who wrote about His life chronicled this discussion with the other disciples.
“Jesus answered them, "Do you finally believe? In fact, you're about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."
Only Jesus can promise you peace. Only Jesus knows the path you and I are on. In the words of John Fischer, “I’m just one old hungry beggar, showing you where I found food.”