Choosing Our Attitude When Trouble Comes

Some years ago when the Mississippi flooded, some of those affected expressed anger toward God. It is noteworthy that in the same disaster some turn away from God, while others are drawn close to Him—yet both are experiencing essentially the same losses. Why is this?

Of the various ways one might respond to calamity, two of the most common are: 1) anger, and 2) acceptance. Is one way better than the other? Which is to our advantage?

Job lost nearly everything: his health, his wealth, and his seven sons and three daughters. Have you ever known anyone who lost more? Yet one thing he didn’t lose was his faith.

Satan was hoping Job would curse God (Job 1:9-11; 2:3-5). Job’s wife gave him his Satanic advice: “Curse God and die!” But Job replied, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:9-10 NASB).

What if Job had done as his wife and Satan wished? Would he have been better off? Doesn’t the last chapter of the book of Job show that holding on to God brings great reward? It’s true that Job questioned God and wondered why he was undergoing such suffering, but what counts is, he didn’t give up on God.

“We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” (James 5:11).

Who is best able to survive hardship and come out on top at the end? It’s the person who realizes that this life is not supposed to be easy—that life is a proving ground in which we are being prepared for a life without suffering.

It’s the person who understands that since a certain amount of suffering is our lot in this life, we might as well accept it and not be shocked, dismayed, or defeated by it.

It’s the person who lays the right foundation so that his house will stand when the storms come (Matthew 7:24-27).

It’s the person who believes that in spite of what happens, God loves us and wants the best for us in the long run, and that no matter what happens, nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

So as has often been said, when suffering comes we have a choice: to become bitter or better. Which will we choose?