Faith During Adversity
There is no other book in the Bible that demonstrates how to remain faithful in the midst of unspeakable pain and suffering than in the book of Job. The book of Job is said to be the oldest book in the Bible and occurred around 2000-1900 B.C. Job was a devote, faithful man who had great wealth, possessions, social status, and children and suddenly through no fault of his own lost everything he had. He lost his possessions, He lost His children and even his own health and yet somehow was able to endure even though he could never understand why ?
Upon hearing about the events that occurred we read where Job tore his clothes and fell to the ground and worshipped (Job 1:20) and then said in v21 “ Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, Blessed be the name of the Lord.” v22 “ In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Truly, how many of us would or could after losing our own children and losing everything we owned be able to praise and worship God ?
As though that wasn’t enough, Job is then inflicted with boils from head to toe and even his own wife said in Job 2:9 “ Do you still hold fast to your integrity ? Curse God and die ! ” This was very similar to what Satan had said to God twice in 1:11 and again in 2:5. We all can understand what his wife is saying because we all struggle with the question “Why“ do bad things happen to good, upright people. How can a loving, just and gracious God allow this ? It is only known to God and we will never understand the Why so all we can do is trust that God knows best on what He is doing for our greater good.
Our only response to this is what Job says back to his wife “ You speak as one of the foolish women speak. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity ? “ As true followers of God we don’t give up because of our circumstances or struggles. We trust God by faith that He will see us through whatever happens and will comfort us and lead us to deeper levels of understanding and insight.
The rest of Job is filled with his friends trying to provide comfort and encouragement for him during this great suffering and his losses. In Job 2:13 “ They sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” His friends then began to speak and kept insisting that Job needed to repent of his wrongdoings and unfaithfulness and that God was punishing him. His friends kept making assumptions that God only blesses the righteous and brings calamity only to sinners.
As true believers we know that God hears our prayers (Proverbs 15:29) and that we should not assume we have done something wrong during times of suffering. Adversity and tragedy often leaves people asking “Why”. Even Jesus himself at the cross said in Matthew 27:46 “ My God, My God why have you forsaken Me ? ” We also know that God actively works in desperate situations to bring about good as found in Romans 8:28.
Job continually questioned God and his friends but maintained his innocence and still kept his strong faith in the Lord. Job 19:25-27 “ I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end He shall stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in the flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes – I , and not another, How my heart yearns within me ! “
Even though Job’s circumstances remained hopeless he still believed that he would be with God forever. Even with all this terrible advise from his friends, he was confident and assured that God was still with him. He completely trusted in the Lord because he came to realize that in the end all we ever need in life is God. People don’t learn that God is all they need until God is all they have.
Throughout all of Job many questions arise in the way of righteousness, goodness, wisdom and truth. We also see Job leaning toward self- righteousness and pride as found in Job 34:5 “ Job says, I am innocent, but God denies me justice.” Many of us, myself included, come to God for what we can get or what we think we deserve, instead of just coming to God for who God is. It is foolishness to ask God only for His blessings as found in 34:31-37. “ Job speaks without knowledge, his words lack insight.” v35
In Chapter’s 38-42 God Himself speaks to Job starting in 38:2 “ Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge ? “ These last chapters are meant not only for Job, but for us to truly know and be reminded of the power, the magnificence, the splendor and the majesty of God, who has created all things and sustains all of creation. We so easily forget that God is sovereign and in control of all things and in these chapters God reminds us of our place in the scheme of things.
We are light years away from the wisdom and knowledge of God and we must humble ourselves before Him in reverent awe. As humans we will never understand this side of heaven what great things are in store for us. These last chapters of Job need to be read on a more consistent basis to be forever reminded of God’s Glory, His Power, and His Kingdom.
Start today – Don’t delay and change your life - Let the power of God’s words speak to you and be filled with a peace and joy beyond measure.
Find additional inspiration and encouragement found in the books “Finding Calm in the Storm of Everyday Living” or “Heart and Soul” either going to Amazon directly or hitting the home page of the store.