The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. —Job 1:12
Everything is going well. You're feeling on top of the world, sailing leisurely along with the wind at your back, comfortable, secure, and happy. Then everything changes. All of a sudden, without notice, something awful happens, and nothing is ever the same again.
Why do catastrophes like this happen? I would have to say, because God allows them to happen. It may not seem right, it may not seem fair, but when something goes wrong, it reminds us that this life is not all there is.
I can't be sure of all the reasons God allows a great disruption to change everything. However, it certainly means preparation for heaven above and preparation for usefulness here below. When you go through tribulation, it means that God is not finished with you yet. It could be that there's something wonderful around the corner.
God has a way of disrupting our lives. It could be through conversion. It could be by calling us to give up what we have. It could be through financial difficulties. It could be that someone very close to you will be ill and you will have to care for that person, or somebody around you will have a nervous breakdown and you will be affected by it.
Can I ask you this question? What kind of faith would you have if a great disruption came and your life was never the same again? Would you panic? Would you say, "God, how could You let this happen to me?" Or is it possible that you would be like Job, who refused to question God or to charge Him with foolishness, saying, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him" (Job 13:15)?
Excerpted from When God Shows Up (Renew Books, 1998).