“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong”
Job 1:20-22 NKJV
Give and take
We do not know what God knows. In the looking back, I would have to say that I am very glad that I don’t. Things have happened to me that I could never have prepared for, could never have even conceived of until they came.
I began reading Job this morning as part of my annual reading plan. Job has been a very emotional book for me, as I have had many experiences that were “Jobessque”, where things have been taken away, inexplicably.
The book of Job is a great book for the believer to read as it shows the sovereignty and faithfulness of God, and provides a great type of what should be the Christian reaction to trials. The average human, in the face of tragedy, seeks to blame God, or question if He is real, and if so, why He did not prevent the tragedy from occurring.
Typically the people advancing charges against the Lord are people who do not believe, and are seeking validation for their unbelief.
In Job, we see a man of God, beloved, facing trouble. Even when all seems lost, he simply bows, and blesses the Lord. I can empathize with Job, as I have been one who Has lost much. When losses have come, I still blessed God. My blessing came from my understanding that God uses trials to refine, to prepare, to fulfill His purposes. I also know that bad things do happen, and all of it is ordained by God based on His omniscience.
I think of Paul on the road to Damascus, having been thrown from horse, blinded by the light of Jesus. I can imagine his sitting along in a house on street called straight waiting, for what, he did not know.
“Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.””
Acts 9:13-16 NKJV
When we face trials, it is all about the moment, and we cannot begin to consider the purposes of God. We only know the stress, the pain, the uncertainty. This is where a cultivated relationship with God is essential. Job had that relationship, as he went so far as to make sacrifices for his children, just in case they had sinned. He had an intentional relationship with the Lord that developed his trust.
Paul knew the Lord according to the book, and once in the spirit, he had full trust, even as the Lord Jesus told him all that he would suffer. Even in moments of doubt, Paul had the Lord with him to reassure him. On a quiet night in Corinth, the Lord visited with him.
“Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.””
Acts 18:9-10 NKJV
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
Philippians 3:8-11 NKJV
There is a greater reward for those who endure and persist through the loss.
For many of our brothers and sisters around the world, living as believers in hostile lands, they too know the faithfulness of the Lord. For many may be the only Christian in the village, and there may be threats aimed at them continually. Yet they continue to share the Gospel, and stand fast and faithful.
I suspect as the times that are coming begin to unfold, we too will feel the sting of persecution, and many of us will count much as loss. Let us remember that we work not for the gain of this world, but for a greater gain, for eternal things through salvation in Jesus.
I have been sustained by my upward focus on the Lord, by the calling He has placed on me. In the quiet of my morning, I can feel the presence of the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, remember that the Lord is with you. Remember that there is coming a kingdom without end, and that Jesus is preparing a place for you even now.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!