Job 11:13-19 “If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear. You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help. But the wicked will be blinded. They will have no escape. Their only hope is death.”
Job was a wealthy man and landowner who lived in a land called Uz. He had a wonderful family with many children. He owned many animals and was one of the good guys. He did everything by the book and was a model citizen. One day though Satan shows up and challenges God saying that the only reason Job is so great is because God has blessed him abundantly. Satan then challenges God stating that if Job loses what he values he will turn and curse God. Satan torments Job and DESPITE these drastic afflictions and loss, Job praises and expresses gratitude to God.
The last few weeks for me have been crazy busy. Working, school activities, sports, yardwork, housework - LIFE. There was a day when I knew Satan was testing me - I had a migraine, my dad had just had surgery, I had not been sleeping well due to our sick dog Henry. That day I went to check on my parents and sure enough, rushing to pick up and drop off my son Joe to his cross country meet in Portland, the low tire light comes on. I mean HELLO, ARE YOU KIDDING ME. I sat in the car and wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. I took my car to the tire shop, where they fixed it for free. I thanked God for my circumstances and expressed gratitude that my headache was gone, for the surgeon able to help my dad, medicine to help my dog’s cough, an opportunity to take Joe to his race and watch him run, and the nice lady at the tire shop who was kind to me despite how busy they were.
Instead of asking where God is in the midst of pain and difficulties, Job affirms God’s control and asks us, where are we in our pain and difficulties? Am I trusting my God, even though I cannot understand my circumstances? God will carry me through this, He never fails! Even though I know this, sometimes despite all that I get caught up. That doesn’t make me a bad person. I think it makes me just a normal fleshly human. When this happens I have learned to simply refocus and reengage, turn toward God and keeping moving forward.
Pain and suffering will afflict all of us in our lifetime at some point. It doesn’t have to be life shattering like Job, it can just be a whole bunch of stuff that gets in the way of my relationship with God. I ask myself will I trust God through my pain and suffering, will I keep putting him first despite all the little things that keep getting in the way. This seems like a no-brainer and before it happens the answer is “of course I will”. The true test is when life gets hard and I am neck deep. That is when I have a choice. I know that my relationship with God is enough when things happen and I can and will lean into God and He will carry me through despite how horrible or tedious it may seem.