"Your children are dead!" These words pierce the heart with a pain that has no equal. "Your house has burned down!" The pain is less, but What do I do now that I've lost everything I owned? Why did this happen? No, no..it can't be true! Anger, grief, denial--these are typical reactions. How do we handle such losses.
The book of Job can help us face life's greatest pains and losses. As it begins, Job has everything he could ask for--family, friends, health, great material wealth, and a strong faith in God. Then in one day he lost his possessions, his servants, and even his children. Soon after that, he lost his health. Had God abandoned him? Was He punishing him for sin? Was He being fair, just, and righteous--or just cruel, toying with a man for His own pleasure? Did God really love Job? How could He, allowing such terrible circumstances as these?
Job's friends and his wife attached the blame to Job. They could not fault God for any of the tragic disasters that occurred, nor could they see Job's unwavering devotion, steadfast faith, and complete commitment. That left Job and Job alone to blame. Surely he was hiding something, some specific sin that brought these judgments on him.
But Job himself saw a sovereign God behind the scenes and believed, trusting Him in spite of what happened. He was quite alone in this faith because his family and friends, like many today, equated God's love and favor with physical prosperity. They could not see a gracious, sovereign God in the darkness Job was facing -- only a disobedient man.
This is precisely what Satan wants to do--to blind us so we can't find God in the impossible experiences of life. He wants us to abandon faith and curse God--the only reasonable product of a Why? with no answer. But the book of Job teaches us to rise above excruciating trials by bowing before the Living God. If we can keep faith after we've lost everything else, God will ultimately bless us in ways that will bring praise to our lips and glory to Him.
Holding Fast Your Integrity
When you squeeze olives in an olive press, what oozes out? Olive oil, of course! Why? Because you pressed olives. You can't get grape juice by pressing olives or olive oil by pressing grapes. What comes out under pressure reveals what we really are. What happens when the pressure is on in our lives? What oozes out? Whatever we are made of.
One of the first things we learn about Job is that he was a man under extreme pressure who experienced unparalleled personal disaster. His responses reveal what he really was.
No one knows for sure when the book Job was written or when the events took place. Some believe Job lived at the time of Abraham and that Moses either found or wrote the book. Others think it was written at the time of Solomon or later. Even where Job lived is uncertain. But dates, location, and even authorship are not crucial to our understanding of the timeless truths in the book. We need to focus only on Job's character--how he responds to overwhelming circumstances and what he believes about the character of God in the midst of these circumstances. These are the things that will help us maintain integrity when life's pressures seem impossible to bear.
Read Job 1 today, marking every reference to God. you might want to use the color yellow because God is light, or a triangle, which reminds us that God is three in one.
On another sheet of paper, make a list of what you learn about God. ou might want to get a spiral notebook to keep the notes you make from your studies. Or you could simply put a triangle in the margin of your Bible and there record anything you learn about God.
Seeking to understand all we can about God is essential when we study the Bible because the Bible is God's written revelation of Himself to us. Be sure to note God's character, ways, and sovereignty over history in general and over Satan, man, and nature in particular.