Often, I find myself reading the Word of God and realizing sometimes how much I shrink my faith, if even at the worst possible times I would have faith at all, given the many situations that life brings us: Pain, suffering, trial, tribulation, joy, heartbreak, peace, war, and the like. The week before Easter I spent time in the Book of John and as I said earlier listened to the entire CS Lewis's Screwtape Letters. The point being, have I ever had that moment where the only place to turn was God? Have I ever had that moment that brought me to my knees and where did my faith take me. As we begin to read, Job 1, (ESV) Job's Character and Wealth 1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. 2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. 3 He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. 4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed[a] God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
As a parent, we learn a path quickly in this journey, trust God, lean not on our own understanding but trust in God no matter what, pray to Him continually. Lift up prayers to God the Father every day for our children who are walking with Him or walking away. God loves them more than we, as parents ever can.
As we continue to read, we learn that there is a dialogue between God and Satan,
English Standard Version (ESV)
Satan Allowed to Test Job
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[a] also came among them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 8 And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” 9 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Satan Takes Job's Property and Children
13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, 14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants[b] with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
This is a hard part of the story as we realize that his faith is tested and that God is sovereign and that no matter what, Satan can do nothing without God. God is in control!!! The hard part of this story, for me, is that in a shadow of an eye and a blink of the light, everything is gone- Everything. The only thing left was his wife and him and a few servants bearing the bad news. Job's response amazes me and makes me question my faith, And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Just when you thought that nothing could get worse, Job's best friends come to be with him. At first you think this could be good, they will lay out their hands for him and comfort him and encourage him and urge him to live a life worthy of God, instead they virtually condemn him and say that surely there must be something in his life that is unrepentant and that he needs to turn toward God. They go on and on in their discourses about the wisdom of God and what God's opinions would be on all this matter.
This should be a careful warning for us all: Do not try to speak for God, let His words of truth do. In everything look for God's fruit, if you see it, then don't condemn it. If you don't see it then help the person(s) look for it. And if you see the fruit of the sinful nature present, then ask for God's wisdom and discernment in how to handle it (if God wants you involved at all).
There is a moment of that knee bending faith that came to me about 5 years ago and then again 4 years ago - I almost lost my wife to a rare situation that almost brought her body to renal failure. To this day we do not know how it happens but we know that when she has fevers it triggers that mechanism which breaks down the muscle in her body which overruns the body in which cause life threatening issues, needless to say, thank you Lord that the past few years have been without incident (although this week she has encountered a bad cold which has led to some fevers - praise God that they have not triggered anything!). After the first episode five years ago, my wife was hospitalized for 6 days. I had nowhere to go, no place to turn except the Word of God and for friends and loved ones to pray, to pitch in and to comfort my family (I thank God for these people in my life). My life and my world were turned upside down. At this time I had a two-year old, and 4 and 5-year-old - what was I to do (after this my outlook and respect for single parents completely changed). By day four, I was deep into Colossians, Romans and Job and the phone rang and it was the prayer team leader of our church who called to tell me that a few women and her were praying for my wife's healing and for our family. Right before they called I had this peace come over me. You see, the night before I wrestled and cried and argued with God and asked him if this was His plan for my life. After hours of tears and lack-less sleep the words that He was waiting on finally came across my lips - not my will, Lord, but your will be done. You love her and you know what's best, she is yours, I give everything to you. After the phone call, I smiled and sang praises to my God. My wife was still in the hospital for another 30 hours, but I had this unbelievable peace. What is really cool is that 2000 miles away, my mother-in-law, who was coming back from Florida had this exact time and exact peace that I did - God is in control!!!
After reading and pouring through Job, I had a new-found respect for this unbelievable servant of God:
- He knew Jesus Christ
- He believed that Jesus was to be Messiah and that He alone would be his intermediary
- He defended the weak and poor and the victims of this earth
- He was very content
At this point you are asking yourself, how did he know Jesus, well let me present the following scripture:
New International Version (NIV)
33 If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, 34 someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. 35 Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.
New International Version (NIV)
19 Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. 20 My intercessor is my friend[a] as my eyes pour out tears to God; 21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.
New International Version (NIV)
25 I know that my redeemer[a] lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth
Secondly, Job teaches us how we should live in our place in the world:
New International Version (NIV)
7 “When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square, 8 the young men saw me and stepped aside and the old men rose to their feet; 9 the chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands; 10 the voices of the nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. 11 Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me, 12 because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them. 13 The one who was dying blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing. 14 I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. 15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. 16 I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. 17 I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth.
Some other verses that teach us how to "live"
Romans 10:9-10 (NIV) 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
- Colossians 3
- Romans 12
He knew the secret to life:
- It all comes from God
I don't ever want to have my faith tested like Job's and I thank God for the blessings in my life. I have learned to be thankful for the testing of my faith in trials and tribulations. Sometimes it really hurts especially when the one's we love sometimes are the one's who hurt us most, but then I remember - God is in control!!!