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Sermon Illustrations > Suffering/Trials > We are Not God's, We are Creatures
We are Not God's, We are Creatures

J. I. Packer, Hot Tub Religion, (Living Books, Tyndale House Publ., Inc., Wheaton, Ill; 1987), pp. 19-21

Ought we to be surprised when we find ourselves baffled by what God is doing? No! We must not forget who we are. We are not gods; we are creatures, and no more than creatures. As creatures, we have no right or reason to expect that at every point we shall be able to comprehend the wisdom of our Creator. He himself has reminded us, "My thoughts are not your thoughts. . . .As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are. . .my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8-9). furthermore, the King has made it clear to us that it is not his pleasure to disclose all the details of his policy to his human subjects. As Moses declared when he had finished expounding to Israel what God has revealed of his will for them: "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us. . .that we may do all the words of this law" (Deut. 29:29, KJV). The principle illustrated here is that God has disclosed his mind and will so far as we need to know it for practical purposes, and we are to take what he has disclosed as a complete and adequate rule for our faith and life. But there will remain "secret things" that he has not made known and that, in this life at least, he does not intend us to discover. And the reasons behind God's providential dealings sometimes fall into this category.

Job's case illustrates this. Job was never told about the challenge God met by allowing Satan to plague his servant. All Job knew was that the omnipotent God was morally perfect, and that it would be blasphemously false to deny his goodness under any circumstances. He refused to "curse God" even when his livelihood, his children, and his health had been taken from him (Job 2:9-10). Fundamentally he maintained this refusal to the end, though the well-meant platitudes that his smug friends churned out at him drove him almost crazy and at times forced out of him wild words about God (of which he later repented). Though not without struggle, Job held fast his integrity throughout the time of testing, and maintained his confidence in God's goodness. And his confidence was vindicated. For when the time of testing ended, after God has come to Job in mercy to renew his humility (40:1-5; 42:1-6), and Job had obediently prayed for his three maddening friends, "the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before" (42:10, KJV). "Ye have heard of the patience of Job," writes James, "and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" (James 5:11, KJV). Did the bewildering series of catastrophes that overtook Job mean that God has abdicated his throne or abandoned his servant? Not at all, as Job proved by experience. But the reason God had plunged him into darkness was never revealed to him. Now may not God, for wise purposes of his own, treat others of his followers as he treated Job?