In my last post I pondered what might have happened if Job had asked God for deliverance rather than blaming Him for his troubles.
I’m reading his friends’ responses to Job and I’m reminded of my early experiences in the Charismatic Movement. When prayers weren’t answered, many times the explanations offered were “You just don’t have enough faith”, or ‘There must be some unconfessed sin in your life,” as Job’s friends said.
If you believe that those are the primary reasons someone else’s prayers aren’t answered, you don’t understand God’s grace and mercy. First, Jesus said all you need is faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains (Matt 17:20). It’s not the level of your faith, but the level of His faithfulness that extends grace to us when we don’t deserve it. If your prayers aren’t answered, perhaps it’s because you “ask with the wrong motives (James 4:3). Or, it may be the answer you think is “No” is actually “Not yet”. Bottom line regarding “enough faith” is not evaluating your level of faith, but trusting His faithfulness, understanding He knows the end from the beginning, and is working things for your good (Romans 8:28). That’s grace.
The “unconfessed sin” accusation fails to recognize God’s mercy. Yes, if you are living in continued willful sin you have a sin problem, and you are blocking the flow of God’s blessing for your life. But to point a finger of accusation, telling them they “must have some unconfessed sin in their lives” is self-righteous and judgmental. We probably all have some unconfessed sin—sin either forgotten or unrealized—yet God’s mercy extends to all. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict someone of sin. It’s not our job to condemn them because they “must (or might) have some unconfessed sin in their lives.
Yes, I wonder what might have happened if Job had prayed for deliverance. But I also wonder what might have happened if Job’s friends has supported him instead of condemning him for the “unconfessed sin in his life”.