Today’s reading is from Job 21 – 23.
May I make a confession? I winced when I saw that my reading schedule has Job so soon after Genesis 11. I wanted to read about Abraham and his faith, about Isaac and his bride, about Jacob and the striped, speckled or whatever goats (well, maybe not so much about those, since I still can’t figure out how he manipulated the outcome)! Instead, I came face to face with the troubles of Job, his loss of everything including his children and the friends who “comforted” him during this season. It’s a painful read.
But God knows what He is doing. Truly the “Bible is an integrated whole which bears evidence of supernatural engineering in every detail.” (Yes, I remember writing that a few days ago.) Reading the Book of Job only reinforced in my mind how far sin has taken us down. From walking with the LORD in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden to being deceived and forever banished. Even after God started over with Noah where the slate has been wiped clean! It seems either through man’s own wickedness or spiritual forces beyond our control – we always find ourselves in an ash heap like Job, scraping our wounds and wondering why. And this is only Day 9.
Job is asking questions that we have asked at one time or another, how life seems unfair at times. But as Pastor Chuck Smith is fond of saying: Don’t exchange what you don’t know for what you do know.
We don’t know ~
Why children suffer.
Why criminals go unpunished.
Why the wicked prosper.
We do know ~
God is faithful. (1 Peter 4:19)
God is eternal. (Psalm 102:12)
God is good. (Romans 2:4)
God is holy. (Revelation 4:8)
God loves us. (1 John 3:16)
Unlike Job in 23:3, we do not have to go searching for God’s dwelling and state our case before Him. To a child of God, He is only a prayer away.
From my YouVersion devotion, I read this. We can substitute “persecution” for “trials.”
In the book A Green Leaf in Drought Time, Andrew Murray had some fine advice for those undergoing persecution. He gave them four words of counsel.
- You are in this straight place by Divine appointment.
- You are here in His keeping. He will keep you by His grace and love in this situation.
- You are here for His training and discipline. God wants to stretch you, to build you up, and He has brought you to this trial to test you by fire.
- You are here in His time. You don’t know how long you’ll be here, or what your future will hold, but this is where God wants you now.
What if you and I approached every trial we face with these precepts in mind? What if we viewed every hardship as His perfect plan for us? Murray also said, “If there were any circumstance better for you than the one in which you find yourself, Divine Love would have placed you there.” That gives our trials a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? If you are experiencing a time of difficulty right now, ask God to give you wisdom to see your situation the way He sees it. His aim is that you and I grow up. Trials are our ticket out of complacency and mediocrity. When we struggle, we grow. Like Job, we can be certain that the outcome of our pain will be a stronger, purer faith.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
[Reading from Blue Letter Bible – Chronological Plan]