I heard a Bible teacher one time say this phrase: “Unique interpretations are usually wrong”. His point was that, if someone is offering you a view on Scripture that no one else has had, it’s a sign of danger. I wrote in my notes next to this phrase, “I disagree”. And I do. I believe that, as the Bible teaches, we need to search out everything we hear concerning Scripture and Jesus to make sure that the teaching lines up with Scripture and what we know about the character of God from the person of Jesus (1 John 4:1).
All that being said, in the way of an introduction, I would like to share a thought with you. I seek to communicate up front that this is a personal thought I had during study this morning. It is not explicit in Scripture, I did not read it from some great theologian. I do believe God laid it on my heart and it is thought-provoking. So I want to share.
In his commentary on the First Testament, Warren Wiersbe brings up our old friend Job during his discussion of the book of Ecclesiastes. In verse 14 of chapter 7, Solomon writes (in the ESV):
“In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”
Wiersbe goes to Job. I had never noticed this, but Job actually rebukes his wife by saying, “You’re a crazy lady. Am I supposed to accept wonderful blessings from God and not accept the things that are less than perfect?” I’m paraphrasing. But here is what Wiersbe said next that lead to my revelation:
“God balances our lives by giving us enough blessings to keep us happy and enough burdens to keep us humble…the Lord balances the blessings in our hands with burdens on our backs.”
You know what caught my eye about that this morning? The ambiguity. So I ran to the book of Job, and you know what caught my eye? The ambiguity. God didn’t say, “Yes satan. Why don’t you kill his children, rob him of his flocks, burn his home, and kill his servants…then we’ll see who he praises!” God just said, “Mmkay. Try him.”
See, when bad things fall on us we try to trick our brains into being okay with it by saying, “Oh, well God sent this cancer” or “God meant for me to have a speeding ticket today” or “Well it was obviously your 16-year-old daughter’s time to go in a hit-and-run accident“. I personally struggle with the idea of a God who is behind definite, particular tragedies. However…I (believe I) can embrace a God who expertly yet simply balances blessings with burdens.
A God who gives me great things in life, but who will also keep me humble enough to recognize the blessings and desire to be a blessing to others (Gen. 12:2) is the God I serve. He is the God I want to serve. He is the God who exists outside of circumstances but is the nexus of every atom of life.
I am becoming obsessed with words and history of words and actions (more on this to come); but that obsession led me to look into the word “coincidence”. I was taken back to the word “coincide”. This word comes to us from the year 1715, and the French word “coincider” which traces back to the Medieval Latin “coincidere”. These were actually astrological terms literally meaning “to fall upon together”.
Many Christians fight against the idea of coincidence. But I think that isn’t fair. My stumbling across Wiersbe’s exposition of Job, the fact that God opened the door for burdens but not particular hardships, this idea of blessings and burdens, all of this is definitely a (*inventing a new term) sanctified coincidence. It is God inviting me “to fall upon together” an enlightening revelation concerning His word, His character, His goodness, and His love. Praise Him. And…