The second type of reader I’m targeting, well, probably won’t buy the book. That’s because they hold to a theology that matches that of Job’s three friends: calamity is always punishment. This is shown by the second title for my book: “Don’t Blame the Victim”.
OK, I shouldn’t say they WON’T buy the book, but rather that they might be disinterested in the subject. But, for those willing to read it, I think it would be profitable. Such a theology is wrong, but there are a whole lot of people in the Church that still accept it. Remember Hurricane Katrina being blamed on the sins of those who live in New Orleans? Or the 2004 Tsunami was caused due to Indonesia’s persecution of Christians? Both, and many other examples, have been blamed on the victims. Yet, to my knowledge, God never spoke to these victims, before or after the catastrophe. So, it is wrong to blame the victims.
But, God DOES punish by calamities. However, He does not do so often. And, one thing is always present when He does: His word. He TELLS people when He causes calamity as punishment (the Flood, the Curse, the Exile of Judah, etc.) Occasionally He tells them afterwards or in advance, but He always says so at some point.
It seems wise, in light of Job’s trials, to never ASSUME that a calamity is punishment. Wait for God’s statements on the subject. Making something up on the subject of a calamity didn’t go well for Job’s friends. It is a very good thing they could call Job friend, so that he would pray for them and offer a sacrifice for them. I cannot even imagine what God meant by “so that I may not do with you according to your folly” (Job 42:8b, NASB). And, I sure don’t want to find out by repeating their mistake.