Look up in faith and not down in despair.
One morning I found myself thinking about Job. When looking up the word adversity in the dictionary, one can almost expect to see Job’s name right beside it. He went through more than many people would go through in a lifetime, yet he had these things to say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; “Blessed be the name of the Lord”; “Shall we accept good from God and shall we not accept adversity?” “You have granted me life and favour, and your care has preserved my spirit.”; “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”.
The story of Job teaches us several things. Satan is not in control, God is. God allows certain things to happen in our lives. He allowed Satan to take away Job’s possessions, his children and his health. God allowed Job to endure much pain and suffering through no fault of his own. In spite of his situation, Job did not curse God. No matter what we are going through we are to praise God. God is to be praised at all times.
Praise God during the bad times? Personally speaking, this would be hard to do. Instead of giving praises and thanks, we would most likely break down and cry, asking God, “Why me? Why have you left me? How could you do these things to me?” We would be in so much pain that we would want to either curl up and die or seek comfort. We would wish the problem away. But this is not how God wants us to deal with adversity. He wants us to focus on Him instead of the problem. Like David, we should ask ourselves, “Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise Him, my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 42:5).
It helps to remember that life here on earth is temporary. Suffering is temporary. God promised us that He will wipe away all tears from our eyes; that there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying nor pain. All the heartaches we endured here on earth will be among the former things, which will pass away. It helps to remember that God is greater than any adversity. When we keep our eyes and minds focused on Him we will overcome just as Jesus did. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus as he walked on the water, he began to sink. We too sink into despair and hopelessness when we take our eyes off God.
The book of Job teaches us that God is in control of all the affliction that befalls His people. Affliction shapes us, fine-tunes us. God uses trouble to test our hearts. God reveals both His and the devil’s purposes. While Satan sought to disprove that Job was blameless God sought to build up Job’s character. God brings us to places where we would not otherwise have reached had we not gone through trials.
Going through trials makes us ask questions, appreciate the good times and make us stronger. We learn valuable lessons. We learn patience, endurance, humility and God’s purpose for our lives. We see that we are not exempt from suffering. Suffering cannot be avoided. God wants us to take the bad with the good. Strength comes from hardships, difficulties, trials and tribulations. These help us to see what we are made of and the areas God wants to work on.
Job is a fine example of patience and this is what I need to have more of. God is teaching me to be patient; to wait on Him; to trust Him to fulfil His plans for my life. Trials also show us who our true and faithful friend is—God. Job lost many friends and the remaining ones attacked him instead of comforting him. God is there through thick and thin. He convicts us not condemns us. He does not desert us when things are going bad. All through Job’s suffering God was there.
Another lesson to learn from Job is that we don’t question God. God doesn’t owe us any explanations as to why suffering takes place. Instead, we are to ask, “Lord, what are You trying to teach me? What is it that You want me to learn from this?” Or say, “Lord, You brought me to this and I know that You will bring me through it. You are in control”. As we go through the valleys in life, let us remember to praise God.