How quickly we condemn his friends, but are we guilty of doing the same to people in our lives? I’m sure by the time the stories about poor ol’ Job circulated around town, most folks condemned him much quicker than they prayed for or comforted him. In fact, they smeared his losses in his face with questions that suggested his faith in God was weak and his woes were his own fault.
You never know how your friends will react when you are treading troubled waters. Interestingly enough, the friends we didn’t figure on being there usually surface first and foremost keeping us afloat. Often, our trusted and true mates don’t stay the course and leave us treading water on our own. I will never forget the precious people who stayed by Tim’s bedside day and night. Neither will I forget the friends who followed God’s lead by doing things for our family that carried us through the dark valley of sickness and death. Friends who stand by us through sunshine or rain are treasures. Galatians 6:2 says it well. “Bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ.”
With the difficult days many of our friends are facing today, we should remember these words and remain supportive and strong when troubles torment. Every day we hear of more plant closings, job losses, company collapses, and economic woes. When it comes close to home, we sit up and take notice. Many people who felt safe and secure are now jobless and jittery. Family and friends talk about the tough times and wonder when and how we will overcome. Everyone has an opinion, many offer solutions, others cringe in fear, while most people press forward praying that they can hold on and take care of their families and fortunes.
We may not be rich and famous, but most of us are blessed beyond measure and have filled our barns through the years. How helpless we feel as we watch savings slip away and wonder what happened to that motto we lived and worked by all our lives...’save for a rainy day’! The rainy days are turning into monsoons for many people.
This determined spirit of Job presents popular theology views that God hands out blessings or curses in proportion to obedience to the law. How many good folks do you know who are having hard times now? Do you believe people are losing jobs, homes, health, and happiness because they did something bad and God is zapping them one by one? Believing that God is “all knowing and all powerful” doesn’t make Him “all responsible.” God created the world and the people. We are responsible for our decisions. God created us in His own image and one aspect of that is free choice. Yes, God created us with freedom and responsibility.
Romans 8:28 reminds us that, “God causes all things to work for the good to those who love God.” Some people suggest that God is behind everything- planning it all. The truth is: all things aren’t good nor do all things happen according to His purpose. God is with us through the good and the bad. His amazing grace and unending Love can bring goodness from the worst of things.
While we don’t fully understand all that happens in life, we can rest assured that God is in charge and we will come out on top when we trust in Him and hold strong to our faith. The storms that are sweeping through our nation and world appear deadly and destructive. Evil is everywhere. God watches and waits for His people to stand and speak to these storms. One person might not make a difference, but one person standing strong and allowing their little light to shine just might ignite a spirit of power and passion that can stop the storms of destruction. One strong spark here, one spark there, and soon we get a fire going. One Christian stands true to God’s Word, another joins, and another, and soon the mighty people who love and serve the Lord will be a force to be reckoned with. My daughter in law, Angel, had a vision that all Christians on the east coast stood together, bearing arms against the enemy. She said the east coast tilted the United States and the west coast swayed our way. We scratch our heads and wonder how these special interest groups get such power. They bond together and embrace persistence. Their voice is heard; they don’t stop until they get what they want. Who says Christians can’t do the same? The good Lord knows our fear of getting involved, let someone else do it, people will think I’m a fanatic, what about my safety if I stand up and speak out for my faith in God? Well, what about our eternity when we stand before God and He asks why we backed down and didn’t give our best?
Things may look hopeless for many but giving up and losing hope and trust in God is not what our nation, our people need to do. Job felt hopeless and throughout the book of Job we find he wrestled and worked through his trials and tribulations. God told Job, “everything under the sun is mine.” He went on in chapter 40 to say to Job, “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? Or will you yield? Do you-God’s critic-have the answers?” Do we think we have the answers only to find ourselves right where Job was.
Job replied to God, “I am nothing-how could I ever find the answers? I lay my hand upon my mouth in silence. I have said too much already.”
Then the Lord spoke to Job again from the whirlwind. “Stand up like a man and brace yourself for battle.”
The story ends with Job telling God, “I know that you can do anything and that no one can stop you. You ask who it is who has so foolishly denied your providence. It is I. I was talking about things I knew nothing about and did not understand things far too wonderful for me.”
Jobs’ story ended with him living happily ever after. In fact, the Lord blessed Job at the end of his life more than at the beginning. Job’s friends went back to see him and he prayed with them. When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his wealth and happiness. God gave him twice as much as before! Then, all his brothers, sisters, and former friends feasted with him in his home, consoling him for all his sorrow, and comforting him because of all the trials he had been through. Job lived 140 years after that. Then at last he died, an old, old man, after living a good, long life.
Job’s words give reason for us to hold on in our own storms. We may not understand and talk about things we know little about, but God does. He is ready and waiting to enter our hearts and bless us bigger than we can even imagine. One day, we will rejoice and relish the things God has planned that are far too wonderful and are waiting for all who believe! Amen.