I want to share an important lesson I learned these past two weeks – a lesson that came at an unexpected time, but proved helpful in an unexpected way.
As our visa deadline grew nearer, I began to feel the tension and stress of knowing that something bad could happen. An uneasy feeling grew over the course of several days, to the point I had an awful stress headache over the weekend. When the headache didn’t get any better Sunday morning, I realized I would be better off staying home from church – now that I’m not a pastor anymore, I can do this like the rest of you from time to time. J
As most of you probably know, I am privileged to write for FaithElement, a free online Bible study resource (Shameless Plug Alert: You can find more info about it on our website at www.FaithElement.com). While I was home on Sunday, I decided to write my lesson for the week, which was about the adversities of Job. What I discovered as I wrote the lesson would be an encouragement to me in the stressful days that followed.
Please don’t hear me saying that our little hiccup was anything like the misery Job experienced! But just because we never experienced Job’s exact plight (thank you, God!) doesn’t mean that we can’t learn something from him. And I certainly learned something new, even in this passage I’ve studied many times:
- Material possessions are not a direct result of our good deeds, and adversities are not a direct result of our sinfulness. I could go on about this for a long time, but suffice it to say here that if these things were true, our world would look very different!
- There may be unseen reasons for our adversities. Consider this: You and I know why Job went through his trials, but through 42 chapters Job never knows this. We, as readers, are given information that Job never receives… and it’s probably just as well. If you were Job, how would YOU have responded to this interchange between God and Satan?? But the fact remains that Job’s sufferings had a reason – and I don’t mean Job went through all these things so that God could be proved right. I’m talking about the millions of suffering people who have been inspired by Job’s story for more than 4,000 years. Bet he didn’t see that coming.
- Job never stopped trusting in God. No matter what happened, Job clung to God with an unreasonable stubbornness. In the midst of all these things, Job could have come to the conclusion that God had abandoned him, or that God hated him. But he didn’t. He refused to let go of his faith, even though God never tells him what’s going on.
- God never stopped trusting in Job. This is the part that got my attention… Job wasn’t the only one displaying faith in this story. Look at the way God brags on Job – he would never have allowed these trials if he didn’t trust that Job could make it through them. And Job came through with flying colors. God’s faith in him was vindicated, and as a result many people have read this story and gained strength from what (to us) seems like “senseless” suffering.
As I sat on the bench at the police office, genuinely frightened that my family and I were going to have to leave our new home quickly and for a long time, I thought of God’s faith in Job. Just as God would not have put Job through that struggle without giving him the strength to endure it, so God would not allow us to face this trial without giving us the strength and resources to come through… no matter where we might end up. God has faith in us, because God knows that we can endure.
What are you facing today? Whatever it is, God has already given you the resources to overcome it. And because of that, God has faith in you, too! Live into God’s faith, because “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”