Sunday, November 11

Curse God and die!

That’s what the man’s wife was telling him to do. His story comes to us from the Near East, maybe in the area we call Iraq. He was the “man with everything.” Big, loving family, health, home, land, successful business, strong faith. Suddenly all he had left was a shaken faith, and his wife was nagging him to throw that away, and just die!

"Curse God and die!" He had sat down, right down in the ash pile, and gone over his whole life. What had he done to deserve all this? What had he done? Searching over all his memories, as if there were a diamond in the grass, a clue of what he had done, of what should he repent to at least get out of his present condition. The bad news was that there were no easy answers. He was innocent. There was no sin for which to ask forgiveness, and if God could be bought off, he had nothing to offer.

Curse God and die? In older cultures a curse carries real meaning. In Kenya, if a person is cursed by their parent that person is without a family, and so cast out from the community. As they say, “I am because we are.” This modern worship of the exalted self, the heroic individual, has no place in the past, and its future doesn’t look too good, either. If a person is cursed, then that person is cast off as dead. All relationships are severed, and that person is considered dead. To curse God is to denounce Him as unworthy of our fellowship and so to reject any relationship with Him.

Curse God and die! Maybe his wife was thinking that it was better to die than continue to suffer so. “Just tell God what you think of His little plan! He’s a big boy- He can take it!” As the pain of his disease increased and waves of loneliness swept over him, there was sure to be that temptation. Death would be a relief. There would be no more pain, no more loneliness, no more the disgrace of sitting there in the rubble of what had been a prosperous life. Surely it was only God, the source of all life, Who was keeping him alive through all this. To sever himself from that sustaining power would surely be the last blow, and he would have peace, wouldn’t he? The one thing that held him up was the love of God. He knew, beyond knowing, that God loved him, and he loved God. He could not curse the One he loved: His faithfulness to the Faithful One carried him through, and in the middle of the troubles he could still say,

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He will stand at the last day upon the Earth. And though the worms destroy body, yet in my flesh I shall see God!”

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