Updated: Oct 10, 2022
Hey dear friend. Had you on my heart once again and thought it was time for another check-in. Primarily because I love you and I know that this has been a very difficult season for so many; myself included. But through it all God continues to be faithful even when our faith fluctuates. You know sometimes things in life happen so fast, fierce, and abruptly that they can knock you off your feet. Though we are instructed to not be surprised or think it strange when the fiery trials come to test us as though something strange is happening to us, when tragedies, setbacks, sickness, and sorrows strike they can catch you off guard and, in our humanness, sometimes cause us to be quite moved. But one thing that I'm certain of is that no matter how deep the trial, or dark the season, joy really does come in the morning. The key thing is to persevere, to hold out, like the old gospel song says, "until my change comes".
The past few weeks have been one of those hard seasons for me and God has so providentially led and has planted me in the first chapter of the book of Job. I know you may say, weeks in one chapter? Yes, in just the first chapter there is so much to glean from Job’s responses to sufferings that happen to him seemingly out of nowhere.
I think for most of us when it comes to deep suffering from a biblical model the first person we think of is God’s servant Job. Job suffered uncommon sufferings that thankfully we are not acquainted with but we do have what we feel are our “Job-like” experiences. Tests and trials sometimes come upon us in one big downpour and it can feel like we’re going to drown from a monsoon of hardship and heartache but like Job, we have an all-seeing faithful, and compassionate God who is able to keep us from falling, and if we do just so happen to fall, that’s okay too. God is faithful to rescue, replenish and supply all the grace we need to get back up again, and true to Who He Is, He enables us to not only get back up but blesses us to rise up even stronger.
Job’s life even from the first chapter gives super ample meaning to “when it rains it pours”. In one day, Job suffered unimaginable loss and agony. While receiving one bad report right after another from four different messengers. While one messenger was yet speaking another came to give Job another devastating report indicating all these things were happening around the same time.
Can you relate? One hard thing after the other? While yet receiving one bad report another is quickly behind? These wilderness experiences come to test our faith and I know that sometimes it feels that we are failing the test horribly but one thing is for sure; God never fails us and as we look at Job’s initial responses during his time of hearing these mortifying reports and immense suffering we gain instruction, strength, hope, and perseverance in the midst of deep loss and adversity.
Let's take a look at the four reports that Job received.
Now ponder this for just a moment, this series of life-altering tragic reports were only Job’s first round of testing. Soon after Job would endure more adversity as the enemy would attack his health. The areas where the enemy attacked Job are still common areas of attack for God's servants today. His financial prosperity, his children, his health, and his marriage (his wife was not at all supportive as she said, "curse God and die").
But as I looked at all Job had to endure my first thought was, how much can one person take? He experienced very significant losses in such a quick and abrupt moment in time yet he did not give up on God even when he didn't understand why these things were happening to him.
Job’s initial responses reveal much that was in his heart, his humanness, his faith, and his devout and intimate relationship with God.
Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God. Job 1:20-22
1. Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Two very important words; Job grieved. When suffering a loss of any kind, we must know that it is not a lack of faith, weakness, or sin to grieve. God created us with emotions and if you’ve experienced or are experiencing deep loss, disappointment or heartbreak extend yourself grace and grieve in the arms of the God of all comfort. Job’s emotions showed his love and adoration for his family and showed that he was human. So, it’s okay to let the tears flow. Anger, frustration, and disappointment are common emotions too. Tell Abba Father all about it. Let the lament pour like rain and look to God. He will comfort you on every side and give you strength, comfort, and courage beyond what you can even imagine. Your pace by God’s grace.
2. Job fell to the ground and worshipped. Job’s response in the midst of unfathomable grief and suffering was to worship God. Job did not lose his faith in God. He worshipped Him and accepted the bad as he had formerly accepted the good. He loved God for who He was not for what He blessed him with. This is the core of worship. Worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth for who He is. Job’s response revealed his genuine and devout heart toward God. Job acknowledged God’s sovereign authority over all and responded with transparency of heart, genuine wholehearted worship, and an undeniable trust in the Living God.
3. Job expressed that he came into the world naked, without anything and that he would leave the world the same way. All that he had the Lord had given him and the Lord had taken it away. Now, it’s good to note that Job’s sufferings were allowed by God. The root and source of his sufferings were from satan. Job remained faithful to God, though he thought God was the One who caused his sufferings. Through the good and the bad, his heart was set on God and he accepted whatever came from Him and he didn't sin by blaming Him.
4. Job praised the name of the Lord! Job praised God! This was not a delayed response. It wasn’t days, weeks, or months this was an immediate response! Praising the Lord for what He gave. Praising the Lord for what He had taken away! I’m reminded of the Psalmist, “I will bless the Lord at all times and His praises shall continually be in my mouth!”
Now, let me be clear here, I have not totally arrived, in fact most times I feel very far away from this juncture in my walk with God. In the trenches of grief, loss, anguish, and things I just don’t understand, I cannot say that my immediate response is praise. When I’m hard-pressed on every side, it can be hard but I know that in the pressing is the highest blessing; the Most High God, whom I’m trying with all my heart to trust when I don’t understand. When my heart is overwhelmed and wrecked with grief. When I don’t know what to do praise is not usually my go- to response but I eventually get there, or should I say God eventually gets me there. He becomes my strength and blesses beyond what I can conceive or convey with mere words.
Maybe you’re having a “while he was still speaking” moment right now. One bad report after another. Things may be going haywire in your life. You're trying to hold out until your change comes as various trials ravage your life. Things happening beyond your understanding. I encourage you to believe the report of the Lord and like Job, keep your eyes on God. Don't give up on Him. Worship Him for who He is and not just for what He gives. Don't blame Him but praise Him for no agenda except for who He is and that you love Him. Bless the Lord, O your soul and all that is within YOU, bless HIS holy Name!
So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. Job 42:12a
Lastly, in the midst of your trial and I know this can be a very hard thing and maybe even a very odd thing to some but I can assure you it will bless you. Even if you feel empty, like you have nothing to offer someone else, choose to say "use me" instead of "why me".
Sometimes in our despair, we may question in our heart "Why me?". Instead as an act of faith seek an opportunity to bless someone else and ask the Lord, "use me". Now I can pretty much assure you from experience, for the most part, you're not going to feel like it but I encourage you to press on and help to fill someone’s cup in a real and genuine way and in turn, your cup will begin to be filled with blessings from on high. Sometimes it'll come in a trickle. Sometimes in a mighty flow. Sometimes in waves. Sometimes a ripple. But a divine exchange of blessing will come and it will be a beautiful glimpse and personal reminder of God's heart, faithfulness, and mindfulness toward you. Moreover, God is glorified and it helps to keep your mind off of you and your own situation.
Know that I'm praying for you and whatever you may going through at this very moment anticipate God's goodness and faithfulness. Be fully convinced that He is with you despite how you may feel. Wait on the Lord and know that He is working out something far greater and perfecting everything concerning you, and always remember this; joy really does come in the morning. This I know . . . . .
Love and earnest prayers,
I pray you are greatly blessed and garner great hope and perseverance while waiting for your change to come.
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For further study Job Chapter 1
1 Peter 4:12