There is no one in this world who knows a completely trouble-free
life. Every one of us has, at some time or another, experienced
tumultuous times. Why? Because troubles and trials are an intimate part
of this life.
These times of life aren't "fun" to go through. Nevertheless, the Bible is clear: We are to rejoice in times of trouble (See James 1:2, Rom 5:3)!
But this goes against human nature. I mean, no one makes a habit of begging for trouble, and few if any would see trouble on the horizon and say, without sarcasm, "thanks so much! It's what I was waiting for!"
Why do we react this way?
Because, in the moment, troubles just aren't "fun"!
Job could relate. He lost everything: Children, wealth, even his health. And after sitting in silence for 7 days, his first words were far from words of praise: "May the day perish on which I was born, And the night in which it was said, 'A male child is conceived.'" (Job 3:3 NKJV) In other words, "Woe is me!"
And then, as if that weren't enough, Job has to sit and listen while four close friend, friends who consider themselves to represent the wisdom of the day, condemn him of sin.
As we say around here, "With friends like those, who needs enemies?"
And through all of this, Job seeks deeper and deeper into depression, into self-pity, into defensiveness, and into self-righteousness. To the point that God spends 4 chapters (See Job 38-41) reprimanding him.
We know from the first two chapters of the book of Job that God permitted these things to happen to Job. There was a great counsel in Heaven, and Satan said to God, "But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" (Job 1:11. See also Job 2:5). God's reply? "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life." (Job 2:6 NKJV)
So what was God's reason for putting Job through this?
We can go to the New Testament for the answer: "...knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience ..." (James 1:3-4 NKJV) and "... knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope ..." (Rom 5:3-5 NKJV)
Friends, the reason we are told to rejoice in our suffering is because God is so able to do His best work in our lives while we are going through trials! In Job's case, God had a few things to teach Job. And not just him! His four friends, all of the "wise" men of the day, as well as each one of us in our day and age, can all learn from Job's misfortunes! God used this bad situation to help all of us see Him more correctly!
And this is exactly what Job's story has to teach us: Our troubled times can and will be used by God to help us see Him more clearly. They can and will be used to teach us important lessons. And through it all, we know that "... all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom 8:28-29 NKJV).
Join us next week and let Job teach us some important lessons for going through our trials: MANAGING TROUBLES: Tips from the Book of Job, Part 2: The Pit-Falls of Self-Pity.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Speech-Language Pathologist, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access the entire "Managing Troubles" mini-series, please click here.)