THROUGH IT ALL
Today's Scripture: “For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” Job 19:25, ESV
Theme: In the middle of the deepest pain, you can know that Jesus is eternally with and for you.
LOOKING TO JESUS
It’s a remarkable statement, really, and one that I have found at once profoundly mysterious yet deeply moving. Job, whom many scholars believe lived in the time of Abraham (which was perhaps as much 2,000 years before Christ), amid immense suffering, foretells his faith in a coming Redeemer. He has lost everything – family, friends, and great wealth. Even his wife tells him to “curse God and die.” But in the middle of this, he still acknowledges his faith in the ultimate victory that Christ will have in the end.
WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE
“We have to help a whole generation realize that things that are hard and difficult are actually some of the most important things for you” (John Mark Comer).
God calls Job His “faithful servant”. Yet He allows great calamity to occur in Job’s life. It’s easy to blame God when things don’t go well. Yet Job endured – and I am convinced that God sustained Job throughout this trial. It wasn’t Job’s willpower alone that enabled him to endure.
At times, God may seem absent or disinterested during your suffering. But there’s always a plan, although we may not be able to understand at the time. And His plan is a good plan that can spur significant seasons of growth if we seek Him during this crisis. As I heard once: “God is most omnipotently present when God seems to be most conspicuously absent” (Karen Jobes, Esther).
A BROKEN HEART
C.S. Lewis wrote: “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say ‘My tooth is aching’ than it is to say, ‘My heart is broken.’”
In addition to Job’s physical suffering, the mental and emotional pain must have been enormous and unbearable. So much loss had happened, in almost an instant, despite him being a faithful servant. He had a broken heart.
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34b, ESV).
We don’t tend to focus on suffering in our worship services or in our music. Yet the Bible is full of cries to God in times of great pain. There’s David’s distress in Psalm 22, which Jesus quoted when He cried out on the cross. There’s Solomon’s frustration and the wailing Jeremiah - all suffering, all pleading, all grieving. I believe God wants all of me through whatever season. As the passage in Ecclesiastes states, there is a time for everything under the sun - whether it be thrilling success or the grieving of a significant loss.
Making It Personal: One time, in a conversation with some antagonistic non-believers, I gave credit to God for something good in my life. One of them chastised me for not taking credit myself saying: “Be careful, Steve, or you’ll end up like Job.” To their apparent astonishment, I responded, “I would gladly end up like Job.”
Seasons of suffering are difficult. How can we depend on God, no matter what the circumstances? When life is tough, I personally have to play the tape through – praying for acceptance of whatever the outcome may be - although I may not understand what is happening. Much is made of Job’s suffering, which was great, but I find many times there is not as much attention on the ultimate, victorious outcome. It’s important to read the full story – it speaks to the redemption we have through Christ. I know that my Redeemer lives and has conquered all.
I am reminded of the old hymn, which goes:
“I know my Redeemer lives,
What comfort this sweet sentence gives,
He lives, He lives who once was dead,
He lives, my ever-living head.”
(Written by Samuel Medley)
Pray: “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing make you afraid, all things pass, but God is unchanging, patience is enough for everything, you who have God you lack nothing, God alone is sufficient.” (St. Theresa of Avalia, The Bookmark Prayer)
Read: James 5:11; 2 Peter 2:9; Psalm 88
Weekly Memory Verse:
“I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” Job 42:5-6, NLT