Then he fell to the ground in worship 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 (Job 1:20-21 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Life rarely turns out the way we want it to, does it? I grew up in a shack on the edge of a little town in Texas. In the winter, we stuffed newspaper between the boards in our walls to keep the cold air out. I always volunteered to sweep the floors because you could simply sweep the dirt through the cracks in the floor.
I can remember Mama saying, “We may be poor, but we can always afford a bar of soap.” Our house was always clean and so were we. I didn’t understand why my mother had to battle cancer for 20 years. It was her greatest fear, and it took her life.
Over the years, there are so many stories in my life and in the lives of my friends and family members for which I would have written an entirely different ending.
I don’t understand why my husband has had over 50 heart procedures. Why does Sara have so many serious illnesses? Bob is a stellar Christian, but he has Multiple Sclerosis and is slowly dying. I don’t like it. I just don’t get it.
You may be offended by my next statement. If I am brutally honest, I sometimes think bad things should happen to bad people and good things should happen to good people.
It’s only fair, right? You and I both know that life is not fair and that our human logic is a shallow substitute for God’s sovereignty.
We are broken people living in a broken world. Bad things do happen to good people while those who mock God seem to prosper.
“Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil’” (Job 1:8, NIV).
Stop! Don’t miss this truth! Satan did not ask permission to torture Job. God pointed Job out to Satan! What? God was so sure of Job’s response to anything Satan would throw at him that he volunteered Job – without asking him.
“Does Job fear God for nothing? Satan asked. Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? … But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face. 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’” (Job 1:9-12, NIV).
Thanks to Satan, Job went from having vast wealth to great poverty, losing everything he and his wife had, including their ten children. Job’s wife begged her husband to turn away from and curse God – but Job refused.
“Then he fell to the ground in worship 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” (Job 1:20-21 NIV).
Job was an extraordinary man, husband, father, and leader who served God faithfully. His faithfulness to God in prosperity was a powerful testimony, but His faithfulness to God in the face of death, pain and despair was even more persuasive.
Job remained true to God – even when he did not understand why God would let him endure such suffering. God was pleased with Job and rewarded him for his faithfulness.
“The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first” (Job 42:11 NIV).
We may not understand God’s process, but we can always trust His heart. One day, all of our question marks will be yanked into exclamation points … and we will finally get it. Until then, we walk by faith and not by sight.
Father, please forgive me when I don’t respond to a trial in the right way. Sometimes I get so angry with You, Lord. You could have prevented this pain. I don’t understand why you didn’t. But this I do know. You love me. And You have a great plan for my life. I choose to follow You – no matter what. I love You.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How did you respond to your last trial? What do you think God was trying to teach you through that trial?
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