Day 153: When all you have left is God, is He enough? (Job 1-4)

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”  –Job 1:21

The story of Job is one of the most depressing stories in the Bible. I have to be honest, I can’t of dreaded coming upon this piece of scripture. It strikes a chord with me because of some struggles I have dealt with in recent years. It’s a tough read, but it’s a great reminder of the fact that although we may not understand God’s purposes behind certain trials in our life, He is with us every step of the way, and by faith, we can trust that His plan is sovereign.

It’s a story most of us know by now – there is a righteous man named Job in the land of Uz. He is righteous in the eyes of God, but Satan believes he can turn Job against God and have him curse His name because he thinks Job just worships God because he is successful, has a big family and has lots of money.

So God issues a challenge. Do you worst, Satan, but don’t harm him. In one fell swoop, literally within a span of minutes, Satan rains destruction upon his family, killing all his kids, his animals and all his servants, bringing Job to his knees in grief and straining every last strand of faith he has left. And that’s not all, in a second attempt, God allows Satan to bring physical torture to Job in the form of boils, leaving Job absolutely broken and left with unanswered questions.

Through all of it though, Job did not sin. God knew Job’s heart and allowed Satan to test him because He knew that Job would keep the faith. The resolution comes in later chapters, but for me tonight, I’m left thinking about the question – why do bad things happen to good people? We may never know the answer. Maybe the right answer is simply admitting that we will never the answer, and attempting to find comfort in faith. It’s a tough proposition, especially for people who “have to know the reason,” but isn’t that point of faith? Believing in what is not visually or physically known?

I’m left thinking about the toughest point in my life – my breaking point – the time I felt the most devastated. It was nothing compared to Job losing 10 children all at once, but for me, it sure felt pretty close. I haven’t talked about this in a while now, and I won’t ramble on with the details, but there was a time in 2006 where I felt my world was crashing down all around me. When the LORD took my brother, my best friend, home to be with Him, my life as I knew it was forever altered. It was as if someone had taken a chisel and thrust it through my heart – the pain made me numb, angry, depressed and left me questioning everything I knew to be true. I’m sure Satan was loving some of the thoughts that went through my head as I wallowed in my sorrow for a time afterward. I had my family, my friends, and they were a great comfort, but emotionally, all I had was God – and I was left to ponder the question – was He enough?

I found myself at a spiritual fork in the road. One road, the attractive, wide and easy path, was filled with self-destruction, temporary relief, sin and anger. It was lush with self-indulgence, and required turning my back on God in the storm and blaming Him for the situation I was in. The other path, the longer path, the more difficult way, was that of perseverance. Accepting my feelings, turning toward God and asking for His help in getting through the pain. I will tell you, Satan sure made that other path look pretty tempting, but I knew in my heart that I had to lift up my face and call upon Jesus. As Job said in the verse above, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.” I had to face the fact that although I was only able to spend 21 years with Keith, he was ultimately God’s child, and this world was temporary. He went home, and I will eventually see him again. This comfort, knowing that God’s love transcends death – what a powerful motivator for faith! I still struggle, to this day, with the grief, loss and pain associated with losing my brother, but with each day that goes by, I am all the more comforted by God’s promise of eternal life!

For Job, when the chips were down, everything was literally stripped away, and he was left with only his Savior, he had to make the call – was God enough? To Job, God wasn’t praiseworthy just because of what He gives – He is praiseworthy because of who He is! It’s all about developing faith. If we always knew why we were suffering, faith would have no room to grow! Faith exists in the moments of uncertainty, times of questions and confusion. Faith is the equalizer when times are tough and we have nothing left to depend on. Faith in God doesn’t mean that we are going to prosper in earthly terms. He isn’t some genie that promises riches. If this were true, people would be Christians just so they could own houses, buy cars and life in luxury. God is more than capable to rescue us from suffering, but He also allows suffering to creep its way into our lives for reasons we do not understand, and I guess that’s the key to all of it, isn’t it? Knowing that we don’t know. Satan will use this thought to have us begin to doubt God, but instead of looking within our sinful hearts for answers that will never come and lead to nothing but frustration, we can look to the LORD, and have faith that the suffering we are going through is part of a greater plan we do not have the ability to understand.

Wow. I think I really rambled on there for a bit. It’s a tough topic to discuss, but I hope there is some nugget of comfort in there for you. We have all gone through some pretty horrible things, whether it is a death in the family, financial ruin, any kind of physical, mental, psychological or intellectual disaster. But when these things happen to you, and you find yourself staring down the fork in the road in front of you, you’ll have to ask yourself that same question Job had to ask – when everything is taken away, when you are broken and beaten down, and that is left is God, is He enough?

God is more than enough, and if you take the harder road, the righteous path, God will be more than happy to show you why.

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