Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In Times of Trial

"The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." ~ Job1:21

Job's story is a sad one.  He was a righteous man, called "perfect and upright, one that feared God, and eschewed evil." (No, don't be silly here. He did not chew evil literally. What were you thinking? Ha! He shunned evil.)  God blessed him greatly with ten children, seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen,  five hundred female donkeys, and a very great household.  Verse three of Job chapter one says that he was the greatest of all the men of the east.

However, as we all know, disaster was to strike...

I'm sure Job started out that day feeling pretty splendid.  Another day to praise God and live in contentment.  He could have woke up feeling refreshed and eager for a new day, until...

A servant came running up to Job with the news: the Sabeans raided  a section and took away the oxen and donkeys, killing the servants who tended them.

Another servant comes running in haste with more news: a great fire from heaven burned up all the sheep and servants.

Another servant brings yet even more news: the Chaldeans raided a different section and took away the camels, killing the servants with the edge of the sword.

How terrible Job must have felt after all this!  All of his worldly possessions--gone.  Still, he must have sighed with relief at the thought: at least my family is safe!

However, another servant came with the last news: a great wind came and smote the house of Job's eldest son, crashing it down upon all of Job's children.

The agony of Job's heart must have been bitter indeed!  His precious children were lost from his grasp forever.  Surely hot tears of sorrow must have flowed from his eyes, hitting the dusty ground as they fell.  But what was Job's attitude through all this?

"Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." ~ Job 1:20-22

What amazing forbearance and fortitude!  Would that we had his faith and trust!  However, this still is not the end.

Job is then struck with severe, sore boils.  Imagine your whole body covered in aching, burning, itching, big red boils.  Even Job's own wife told him to curse God and die!  He seemed alone and forlorn.  His grief was great.

But he was not alone.  God Almighty was near.  He was not going to let His faithful servant Job die in despair.  The Lord had a purpose in Job's suffering.

How could Job have blessed and praised God in the midst of his trial?  How could he have continued on in his grief?

He rested upon God, placing all his trust in the One who has everything under control.  We too must place our trust in Jesus Christ.  

Can we truly question His motives?  He, who created the entire universe with His word, who died the cruel death upon the cross for our salvation if we would believe, He who sets everything in motion, and even knows the number of hair upon our head, who are we to question Him?  We are nothing but fallen and depraved human beings.  He is the all-powerful God who is everything.

"Behold, He taketh away, who can hinder Him? who will say unto Him, What doest Thou?" ~ Job 9:12

"For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." ~ Hebrews 12:6

We were created for God's glory. (Revelation 4:11)  Everything we do is to bring Him honor and glory.  Our trials are part of His plan.  His glory is to be shown, our faith is to be tested, and our sin is to be removed.  We cannot question Him, for He truly has our benefit in mind.  He wants His glory to be know throughout the  world.  He wants our faith to be true and strengthened.  He also wants our sin removed so that we may not be hindered in our relationship with Him.

One day "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

In the end of Job's story, God again blessed him, but with much more than before.  God gave him fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand oxen, and a thousand female donkeys.  God also gave Job ten more children, just as before.  Isn't God wonderful?

Do we have courage to stand up tall, throw back our shoulders with determination, look our trial in the eyes, and keep marching forward?  Do we have faith to trust God in everything?

Do you?

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