Bad Things Don’t Always Happen in Threes
Job 1:6 – One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.
You’ve heard the phrase.
“Bad things come in threes.”
Well I am here to tell you that is crap.
The history of that phrase holds origins in Christianity, but a perverted and twisted sense of it. When I researched the origin of the phrase it was that if someone upset the Trinity, then the Father, Son and Spirit would take their revenge on you, thus bringing you bad tidings three separate times.
There is also a war analogy that was used by British soldiers during the Crimean War. In order to save matches, the soldiers would light as many cigarettes with a single match. Part of their training manual said to not light 3 cigarettes with a single match because it would give a sniper time to locate the position of the light and the third man would be killed. After time, it was found out that the creator of the matches they used spread that information to the command of the British troops so that he could sell them more matches.
But I am going to tell you that bad things DEFINITELY can come in more than threes.
This has been a very tough 4 months. Really a tough year. It started with me getting back surgery in May of last year. I needed a second back surgery in December. Then we had troubles with pets. Our diabetic, 15-year-old cat was given too much insulin by accident. Then our dog decided to eat a bag of coffee beans. Then Mimi’s car needed almost $4,000 in repairs. Then my mom went into the hospital. Then the sump pump stopped working and started filling the crawl space with water. And then yesterday, my mom went back into the hospital again, this time she is told she has cancer.
Job 1:21 – And said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
I write this as I sit at the hospital, eating cafeteria food, and thinking about my mom’s life.
By my count, we are now up to 8 pretty big things that have come our way. Seven of those items were in the past 3 months alone! (maybe bad things come in a period of three months?)
So I have come to realize that superstitions are crap.
So instead of superstitions, where should we look?
No matter what after all of this turmoil, it has an effect on people. I have noticed a pretty big effect on myself. I can no longer look at people and give the church morning answer:
Person: How are you brother?
Me: Blessed like the rest brother!
I can’t be fake happy anymore.
I find solace in the Bible.
Specifically the book of Job. But not for the reason you might think.
I know everyone says that they read the book of Job and it fills them with comfort. But it shouldn’t.
Job 1:20 – At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship.
Job shows how tragedies in our lives change us permanently.
Here is the timeline:
- Job had it all. Tens of thousands of animals, a large family, a lot of servants. He lost them all at once.
- This caused Job to fall to his knees in worship to God.
- After that, Job got sores all over his body.
- Job praised God.
- Job is visited by potentially well-meaning friends.
- He said that even though he is blameless, he hates his life. (Job 9:21-22)
- Even though he hated his life, he understood that God was still on the throne and in control (Job 12:13-14)
- Job feels broken by what his friends said about him.
- God has a discussion with Job. In the end of this conversation, Job understands that there are things in this world that are greater than Job and he would never understand them.
- Job’s family came to his aid and he ended up with more than he lost before.
But one thing is interesting in chapter 6: Job asks God to kill him.
Job was broken.
He reached such a low point that he asked for death.
Now, just so you know I have known that feeling before. When I got divorced I went through a time where I believed that life would be better if I weren’t in it.
But then I had my “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment and came to grips as to what life would look like without Fred in it.
So today, I sit here numb. I’ve cried some. I’ve felt anger. I’ve even laughed a little.
But, in the end, numb.
The book of Job doesn’t tell us about the emotional impact that his trial had on his life. The last verse says, “And Job died, an old man, and full of days.” I take that to mean that he lived his life and enjoyed it. But still there is nothing there about how this trial affected him.
Job 28:28 – And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord – the is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”
I am definitely not as focused on God as Job was. But I know how much these minor (in relation to Job’s afflictions) inconveniences have affected me.
It takes everything I can do just to not be cynical.
Pain is part of this life. If you don’t believe me, read the Psalms. I believe there is a reason Proverbs comes after Psalms. The Psalms show God’s glory in the pain of this world. The Proverbs give us wisdom, most likely acquired through years of pain.
I know that when this season is over, the wisdom that will be gained, if I can stay true to God’s Word, will be used to help others going through adversity.
In the meantime, I feel numb.
In the meantime, don’t expect me to give you too many nice answers.
In the meantime, even if I make you so angry that you want to punch me, just flash me a smile.
This is a season that everyone goes through. It isn’t easy, but it is part of this broken world.
But even though this world is broken, God is still sovereign. He is on the throne. And one day soon, and even sooner for my mom, there will be no pain, no disease, no tears of sadness, no cancer, no bitterness, and no one but God.
And for that, I will wait.
Revelation 21:4 – He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”