Something about the book of Job always troubled me. God allowed all Job’s children to be killed. At the end of the book it says the Lord gave him 7 sons and 3 daughters – like that would make it all right.
“Lord,” I thought, “I can’t believe that fixed everything. If You gave me 10 more kids that wouldn’t make up for the loss of even one of mine.”
In my heart I heard the Lord say, “I never said it made it right. I just told you what I did for Job so he did not grow old alone. Do you think he has any complaints about how I treated Him?”
Duh! I felt pretty foolish. Of course Job has no complaints about God’s treatment of him. For thousands of years he has been happily reunited with his whole family – those children before and after his trial. He wouldn’t complain about a few years of pain compared to the indescribable joy he has experienced for these thousands of years – and will continue to experience throughout eternity.
Life can be brutal. Why do some sink while others soar? I thought of a fellow who whined to me for two hours about how he was tossing out his faith in God because of a relatively minor problem he was having. Then I thought of a heroic friend who daily battles pain due to lupus but declares the goodness of God in the midst of it and even ministers to others every day she is physically able to.
Why are some of us like straw men that any tiny puff of adversity scatters to the wind and others like eagles that the storms lift to new heights of glory?
Maybe it has to do with our perspective. Do I focus on today’s trouble or the eternal hope I have? Do I think, “I am a wonderful person. God owes me better”? Or do I realize, “I am a mess who deserves nothing but judgment. Thank you Lord for your mercy this day.”
I certainly don’t have the faith of Job or even my heroic friend. But their courage does challenge me to keep my eyes fixed on eternity and thank God that I don’t get what I deserve but get His grace instead.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Hebrews 12:2, 3 (MSG)
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)
If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!
Proverbs 24:10 (NIV)