The start of 2017 brought many new things including the one year THROUGH THE BIBLE devotional. I purchased my Canvas Message Bible and got started on this journey to read the entire bible by December. (I’m almost finished!)
After the first quarter I was enjoying getting to know more about God, who He was and who I am in Him. Little did I know behind Esther would be a revelation for my life, the story of JOB.
Surprisingly I had never read this story before and this book came at the most perfect time. (Don’t you love Gods timing!) Last year around this time I was doing too much. Involved in way too many things and my focus was all wrong. God told me to BE STILL and WAIT. I removed all distractions and took the time to slow down, refocus, rest and recharge my batteries.
Life seemed really grand until “stuff” started to come up. I was under attack from the enemy and he had me feeling “less than” in all areas of my life. Eventually God revealed to me that I had a heart problem. My heart did not match my feelings, words or actions. I was questioning why God was not answering my prayers and I was constantly suffering from comparison, fear, and discontentment. He then showed me I did not truly trust Him and what He was doing in my life as well as my husbands. The real kicker was God showed me that being obedient was not only about gaining something.
OUCH! The truth can hurt.
Now back to Job. All things were going so well in his life. He was blessed beyond measure and living with a grateful heart. Satan literally said to God, “ But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.” God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead – do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.”
I find that conversation amazing and interesting all at the same time.
Job went through the most horrific things. When he first lost his wealth, animals and family, Jobs faith remained strong. He says “ God gives, God takes, Gods name be ever blessed.” Not satisfied with his response, Satan takes away Jobs health. He quickly finds himself straight in the middle of a storm and his strong faith begins to fade.
So my question to you is, how do you react when God decides to put you through a test? Me, I was like Job. Cried out, cursed my fate and wanted to plead my case. I did not consider it a blessing for my correction from God. I was not bearing “much fruit”.
One of my most beloved authors Lisa Bevere writes in Without Rival “ I have the power to choose whether tests and trials will serve as messengers or simply leave me looking messy.” She later refers to our auditions, hardships, assessments, pain and suffering, experiments, examinations or tests as “soil”. I can envision a once beautiful flowerbed that was full and flourishing now dry, faded and in the process of “deadheading”. In her conversation with God He says to her, “ This kind of pestilence multiplies rapidly. The choice is always yours; you can spread the dirt of excuses over them and cover up their activity once again. But they will remain. If you want to be rid of this pestilence, you must renounce them in word and deed and give me permission to remove them.”
We have to allow God to work in us. Removing those things that pull us away from Him and His purpose for our lives. So many times we ask God to get us out of that awful experience instead of asking “what are you trying to teach me?” and “please give me the strength to get through this.”
Later Job decides to speak to his friends thinking he would receive comfort but all he received was criticism. Which this is a great lesson by the way in encouraging a friend who is suffering! How many times do we listen to respond instead of listening to understand? But to have a friend like Elihu! Reminding you that your trial is a test of faithfulness. God tries to speak to us in different ways and we just need to listen.
Approaching the end of the story and after many exchanged words, God finally speaks to Job. Confirming He is God and we are not! We must completely surrender and rely on Him. God’s perspective is so much greater than we could ever understand. Imagine looking outside on the ground floor of a building. You can probably only see a few feet away. Now think about looking down and out from the top floor of that 1,000 ft. building. Your vantage point is much greater now. You can see almost everything stretching from miles around. He knows what’s best for us more than we know. John Piper says “ God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” Now that is powerful.
This story concludes Job surrendering and acknowledging his attitude and behavior towards God. He then restores Job and blesses him even more than before. Having God revel my heart, I was able to find joy and peace through my heavenly father. Truly embracing the “pruning” of my branches. John 15:5 says “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Now lets go back and think about that first conversation between Satan and God. Don’t miss this… God allowed all of those things to happen. He knows what He is doing; God knows exactly what we need. Job is an overcomer, just like you and I. I want to encourage you to look up first. Have a grateful heart and pray for God to reveal to you what is standing in the way of your relationship with Him. Believe in His promise and never forget you are a child of God. You can trust Him.
Have the faith of Job.
Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of. – Charles Spurgeon