The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. In all these things Job did not sin with his lips
Many have commented over the past months, that they are impressed that I have a positive, humorous attitude, despite onerous circumstances. Thanks! I believe we all need to, and are better to, look at life half full rather, than half empty. I believe we need to be thankful for what we have, rather than grumble about what we don't. I believe we need to overcome, rather than succumb.
Over the years, I have read, and listened to the story of Job, dozens of times. Job lived some 4000 years ago and was the Bill Gates of his day in terms of wealth and honour. His, is a story of perseverance in the face of devastating adversity. It is also a story of loyalty to God while maintaining one’s integrity and proper values despite overwhelmingly crushing circumstances. Job in summary, due to satanic attack, lost all his children and wealth in an instant. He lost not only all his herds that were the currency of the day, but also all of his twelve children in an earthquake. He lost all his fair weather friends, (typical) and even worse, his health. As he sat in sack cloth and ashes which was a way for a person to humble themselves before their God as they sought His favour, his body was covered with excruciating open sores.
After losing his family, wealth, community respect and health, his wife who alone survived ridiculed him, telling him to curse God and die. Satan left Job’s wife standing and in good health as he knew she was a bitter pill of disdain and discouragement. Thankfully by contrast, Pauline has been a positive force, through all my challenges.
Wow. I’ve had my challenges but haven’t lost my children. I’ve lost millions but I didn’t have a drop of wealth compared to what Job had. Can we, despite devastating events, still worship God, bless Him, and trust in His righteousness? We need to though, as it is the proper response to devastating events, of whatever magnitude. Job would have sinned, if he would have accused God of wrong and blamed God for his circumstances, but, because he didn’t go there, sin wasn’t found in his response.
I would expect blaming God briefly crossed his mind as we all typically go there, and Satan’s little minions would have been shouting it at the top of their lungs, to tear Job away from trusting in God. However, thinking something versus doing or saying something, is different. God is righteous, in all His ways. If something doesn’t make sense, the issue isn’t with God. God sees the BIG picture. The issues could be with us, it could be outside circumstances such as satanic attack or it could be just a test to teach us something so we may eventually glorify God in a greater way. Really, the primary reason we’re on this earth right now, is for boot camp. This isn’t the destination, it’s just a training period.
Is it fair that God took away that divine protection surrounding Job and his family? Is it fair that Job and innocents got caught in the crossfire between God and Satan? It is what it is. We’re at war and we’re soldiers in a war. Is it fair to get drafted and sent to a war your country doesn’t support, like Vietnam? That’s the way it is. God is righteous in all His ways and once again, sees the BIG picture, a picture that is wider than our universe, beyond the restriction of time, and, multi-dimensional. As much as it was painful for Job to lose his children, their time on the earth was temporary regardless. God would have known their destination was heaven, and though missed by their remaining friends and family on the earth, were better for it. Job would be reunited with them in a short while. Where would you rather be if you had a choice, and knew what heaven would be like?
In allowing Satan to go after Job, God has the biggest laugh in the universe. God’s probably still laughing about Satan’s dumb move, even right now. Not only that, Job in the end, had incredible earthly, as well as heavenly blessing, and hundreds of generations of people, have been strengthened and encouraged as a result of the story of Job. We don’t feel so singled out; we don’t feel so alone; we persevere and we have victory we otherwise wouldn’t.
Job as well as every other saint in the Bible had no expectation their story would be recorded and singled out for countless people to learn from, for thousands of years in God’s educational system. Job or Moses or Paul or Peter were just living their lives, and trying to do the best they could before God. At times there were amazing victories, and at times there was crushing discouragement. Their triumphs and failings are all there, laid out in our owner’s manual, so we can learn and do better ourselves. Every step of the way Satan and his loser demons might dog us, and at times they even get their micro victories. But our great God, our great creator, our great boot camp One Hundred Star General takes our lemons, and makes lemon-aid out of them.
In the process, we reap huge rewards. Think of Job for example. He was righteous and clean living before God before all the fury of hell was unleashed upon him. If he would have died before all the events happened, he would have gone to heaven and heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in little, I will reward you with much!” Job would have been thrilled with God’s recognition and display of appreciation, for Job’s righteous living before Him. Job had lived his life, and ended his time on the earth on a high note! It was all he could have ever wanted or expected. The ultimate happy ending story.
However, let’s consider what benefit Job has likely received because he did go through the trials inflicted on him by Satan. We know that he was given a whole new family, he was given the most beautiful daughters in the land, and he was given double of what he had before the calamities came upon him. He also developed a much greater understanding of who he was before God, and the magnificence of God, not only as the great God, but as the creator and sovereign over all. Job spoke face to face with God at the end of his test and developed a relationship and understanding he wouldn’t have had otherwise. The people surrounding Job learned more about trials and victories, and millions of God’s followers have learned since. I expect there are compound interest dividends paid Job eternally speaking, on the victories from those that have learned from his story. As God blessed Job with twice what he had before the test, it is reasonable to believe that the blessing and status Job has received in heaven, is at least double what it would have been otherwise as well.
I have been a fan of a Christian comic artist, Jack Chick, since I became a born-again Christian in 1979. He is known for creating hundreds of small evangelistic Christian stories in comic book form. Many things can be said about Jack, from controversial to insightful to dedicated. His tracts have led thousands and thousands to Christ. He recently died at 92. I watched a series of video blogs about his life today and #10 goes into the troubled life of a very private man.
Jack had a lot of blessing in his life, but also a great deal of tragedy. His mother tried to abort him, unsuccessfully, which led to him having hearing problems. His father was indifferent to his existence. His mother at 70, asked Jack to never let anyone know she was his mother. Jack married and after a short time, his beautiful wife developed serious health issues, which forced Jack to spend years caring for an invalid. His only daughter went into the occult, drugs and a reprobate lifestyle, which led to an early death at 50. A wedding picture of her at her first of three weddings, showed a beautiful young woman who could have been a model. A picture of her before she died, showed a haggard woman who looked closer to 75 than someone in her 40s'. Jack had business challenges, personal betrayals and many other challenges. Through it all, he remained a pleasant, generous man, who prayed continually and fervently. Here is a link to the #10 segment of Jack's life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz68Xz4LURs
We all have challenges. Friends, the important thing is, we do our very best to keep out chin up, and look at challenges presented as an opportunity to glorify God, and fight a battle, big or small, that can give us a reward, "worthy of story and song", as the Klingons would say. The important thing is we fight through our individual training program. The important thing is we not only endure boot camp, but excel at it. Perhaps my story, or your story, will be told four thousand years from now, because we glorified God despite discouraging events, because we thanked God rather than cursing Him for our temporary circumstances, How do I stay positive with an incurable cancer? Because I know, God knows, and loves, best.