We all go through storms in life. More often than not they arrive without notice and catch us completely off-guard. We can go from one ordinary day to our world flipped upside down within minutes. Other times, it may not be so sudden but after a while, we look at our lives and wonder how we came to such misery. We may have different ways of dealing with life’s challenges but the Word of God gives an effective approach to take when faced with adversity. God knew we would have struggles so He put the advice there ahead of time.
In this book, you and I take a journey through the lives of Joseph, Job, Ruth and Jesus. For every one of them there is a different kind of storm. We consider their adversity, and note what we can apply in our own lives. In the end they all find joy again. What started out as hardship or tragedy ends beautifully.
So, how did God help them? Why was His favor on them? What did they do right? These are questions we receive answers to in the book. The answers will give you real hope for your situation and set you on the path to experience brighter days.
From Chapter Three: When Nothing Makes Sense
THE WORDS OF JOB
Job breaks his silence:
“Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’”
“Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it.”
“Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.” (Job 3:3-5)
Job had been in deep contemplation trying to make sense of what had happened, when he spoke, he revealed his thoughts to his friends.
Like Job, when we experience adversity, we get contemplative. We consider what has happened and at times even regret that we were born. Job regretted his birth because he believed there was nothing good left in his life: it was meaningless. As we saw earlier, God was fully aware of what was happening to him and preserved his life for a reason. He had a good plan for Job and there was much to look forward to, Job just couldn’t see it. When we go through hard times, God’s intentions remain good despite the circumstances. Life may appear hopeless, but God can make it wonderful again, if only we trust him.
“Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave?”
“For my sighing comes instead of my bread, and my groaning is poured out like water. For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.” (Job 3:20-22, Job 3:24-25)
Job asks why God conceals our future from us and then allows unpleasant things to happen. The Lord gives life to those who have no reason to live, he implies. He also says the thing he fears is what happens.
Life can be daunting. When we experience the unexpected, it makes us feel uncertain about everything. We anticipate the worst and become continually anxious.
The apprehension Job felt is understandable. A series of tragic events had befallen him and it was only natural for him to expect worse. However, although God understands that we can be fearful in times of trouble, he certainly does not expect us to remain that way. At some point, he expects us to put our focus back on him and try our best to trust him. We must believe in the integrity of his Word (Psalms 46:1, Psalms 12:6).
Job continues to express his pain:
“Oh that my grief were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances. For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea; therefore my words have been rash.”
“My brothers are treacherous as a torrent-bed, as torrential streams that pass away, which are dark with ice, and where the snow hides itself. When they melt, they disappear; when it is hot, they vanish from their place.” (Job 6:2-3, Job 6:15-17)
Job describes the extent of his grief. He was still mourning the loss of his children and struggled with the dreadful sickness he carried. He further talks of how his brothers abandoned him in his most trying time and yet were always there in the good times.
It is one thing to be in deep grief, it is another to be left alone when you need people the most. We can be sure nevertheless, that if we find ourselves deserted in our grief, we can always call on God and he will be there for us. What’s more, he can do more to comfort us than anyone ever could. Through his Word, (both spoken and written) God can soothe our pain by letting us know he is there for us. Although we may still have questions, the awareness that he is with us will be sufficient for that season.
Job asks why:
“I am allotted months of emptiness, and nights of misery are apportioned to me. When I lie down I say,
‘When shall I arise?’ But the night is long, and I am full of tossing till the dawn.”
“Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good.”
“If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind? Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you?” (Job 7:3-4, Job 7:7, Job 7:20)
Adversity sometimes lasts longer than we expect, it could be weeks, months or much longer. In Job’s case, it went on for several months. He gives us a picture of what his daily life was like; how he suffered both day and night.
Prolonged suffering can make it hard for us to believe that God is listening to our prayers, but if we take the example of Job, we realize that a lack of change in our situation does not imply abandonment. Despite Job saying he would “never again see good”, God ultimately restored him and he did see better days.
Job went on to ask God for an explanation; the reason he had to endure so much suffering. The question we often ask in our adversity is “why?” Unsurprisingly, God did not answer Job; it was not the right time. Had God explained to him at that time, he would have missed the opportunity to grow spiritually.
Job needed to experience the fullness of his adversity. He had to understand that God was able to restore him from absolutely anything. Added to that, Job’s life story was to convey a message to countless people who would live after him. God had those people in mind.
As it was for Job, each of us has a set time for God to make sense of our troubles. Until then, we just have to trust and know there is a good reason.
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