Do you ever wonder why bad things happen to good people? It seems that some people really get zapped with tough times. Recently, we were studying the book of Job at The Learning Station. Explaining how Job lost everything seemed effortless. How can we comprehend such loss, especially little children who view life with such innocence? Yet, we talked of Job losing it all while remaining faithful and firm in his love for the Lord as if we should be strong like Job without worry or weariness.
Teaching that lesson left skid marks on my heart long after the children prayed and headed in all directions to play. For days, I thought of the heartache, headaches, and hot spots Job weathered when the devil took all that he had, little by little, laughing at his predicament while loathing his devotion to God. God knew Job would stay true to Him, even when everything was gone in his life. God waited while the devil tormented and took Job’s loved ones, his flocks, his land, all his possessions, but he couldn’t take away his love and dedication to his Lord. Surely, you have studied the book of Job and marveled at the magnitude of his faith, while wondering what you would have done in that same situation. How much would we have to lose before we would cry out to God and give up, even turn against Him as Job’s wife suggested. When Job’s wife didn’t stand strong with her husband in the tough times, he walked a path many people do each day in marriages. She felt her family had been treated unfairly, unjustly, unprotected by God; so she begged her husband to curse God. Would we do as Job did or as his wife did, if we lost all that we love, all we have worked for all our lives, all that we claim to be ours? How much would we have to lose, just a little or a lot, before becoming bitter and badmouthing our Father? To make matters worse, what if our friends pointed fingers and accused us of doing wrong or these terrible things wouldn’t be happening?
Job was about as low as one could go, but he didn’t turn his back on the One who gave him life and allowed him to be put through tests to determine his faithfulness. Job stood his ground and bore the pain, the problems, the pressure, the path that no person would dare trod. How did he prevail through such persecution? Surely, he wrestled in prayer through long treacherous nights, wondered how he would ever smile again, felt depressed and desperate, like a lone ranger; yet, he believed he would win the war against the devil. And he did! God was with Job through every loss, every long night, every hateful assault from the enemy. He watched and waited to celebrate victory with Job, bringing blessings and a good life for the man who lost it all, but gained honor in the sight of the Lord. Job was a hero who had a crown loaded with jewels waiting for him the day he entered heaven’s gates.
What have you lost? How have you handled your losses? Have you lost everything you love and own in this world? Studying the book of Job minimizes what we have lost; yet, the pain of losing someone you love or possessions you’ve worked hard for threatens to take away our desire to live life with the faithful spirit that opens doors for blessings. Job survived his hard times. Will we?
Recent happenings cause us to wonder what must be lost before we give God first place in our lives. He is shaking the earth to get our attention. While walking the beautiful beach at Topsail recently, I pondered these questions while looking over the vast ocean. I thought of how God made an awesome home here on earth for us to enjoy. How sad He must be to see our foolish ways, our waste, our pride and prejudice, our apathy, our busy schedules that keep us stressed and distanced from Him, our failure to honor our mothers and fathers and love our neighbors as ourselves, our being silenced when as believers we should be shouting from the mountaintops- how great is our God! I stopped to gaze into the beautiful, clear waters with white caps glistening in the sun His might power is seen and heard in the sea, God gave all we have and can take it all away…with one shaking of His earth, one storm that sweeps our shore, one war or economic crisis where we lose our land, one crisis that turns our world upside down.
Could we lose it all? Surely, Job asked that same question before everything in his world withered and died before his eyes. Do we throw in the towel and declare defeat when losses come closer and Satan seems to have control? More pleasing to our Father would be throwing out the ways of the world, claiming victory over the enemy, and restoring God to first place in our everything … being a Job! Bad things may happen to good people and losses come our way, but we must choose to trust God and stand firm in our faith. We can never lose when we stay true to Jesus to the end.