Embedded in our universe are mysteries that defy any observable explanations. In fact, for the last half-century, scientists have searched unsuccessfully for a “Theory of Everything”—an equation that would explain the contradiction between General Relativity (how large cosmological objects behave) and Quantum Mechanics (how small subatomic particles behave). The problem is these two realms operate by completely different sets of rules, as though they don’t even belong in the same universe.
Of course, God can easily create a universe that operates by conflicting rules. And when He does just that, it’s His way of saying, “Try as you may, you will never make sense of this without Me!”
Scientists, however, continue to grope for a theory that will account for this inconsistency, thereby bringing everything under one unified understanding of how things work.
We have a similar dilemma in the moral or metaphysical realm. There we find another baffling contradiction, not between planets and particles, but between the character of the Creator and the nature of His creation. If God is God, why is life such a mess? Put another way, if God is awesome, why isn’t life awesome?
What’s needed is a metaphysical “Theory of Everything,” a principle that would explain the work of God in this world. The Apostle Paul provided just such a principle when he wrote, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Long before you or I had done anything to deserve God’s love, Jesus “died for us.”
Put simply, the principle of grace declares that God loves us no matter what we have or haven’t done for Him.
The unconditional nature of God’s love is an amazing truth, but how does it help to explain the chaotic mess we call life? It’s simple: If grace is God loving us no matter what we have or haven’t done for Him, then a grace-based relationship with God would be us loving God, no matter what He has or hasn’t done for us! By implication then, the best set of circumstances from which we can live out our devotion to God will sometimes be disguised as the worst set of circumstances.
This was certainly true of Job, who found himself in the midst of a terrible set of circumstances, groping for an explanation for how God could be righteous, just and fair while everything that was happening in his life seemed anything but righteous, just, and fair. Despite his trials, it’s clear that Job understood that God loved Him unconditionally, even if he was a bit fuzzy on how his sufferings fit into God’s loving plans.
Job knew that he had done nothing to deserve the abundance of blessing that had been poured out on him over the years. He also understood that he had done nothing to deserve the grievous misfortunes that had rained down on him, regardless of the poor counsel of his friends. These two facts form the basis of the powerful lesson Job was to learn: that believers are to walk with God by grace, not justice, and that grace has nothing to do with what we do or don't deserve.
Quite the opposite, the principle of grace is all about engaging with God in a relationship of unconditional love and trust. In such a relationship, an imperfect world happens to be the perfect place for our faith to be challenged and grow.
Would Job still love and obey God if God allowed all that he had to be taken from him? Would Job respond to the unconditional love of God with unconditional commitment in return? The amazing answer comes, in the midst of devastating loss, as Job triumphantly proclaims, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 15:13).
Although Job never understood the reason his life had taken such a dramatic and tragic turn, he did understand the principle of grace. As it turned out, that was all the instruction he really needed. That’s because grace really is the Christian’s “Theory of Everything.” It not only explains the otherwise unexplainable events of our lives, it instructs us how to best respond.
So, as you travel your way through a world of good and bad, fair and unfair, remember this is God's way of saying—“Try as you may, you will never make sense of this without Me!”
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21).