In March of last year, I found myself at the very beginning of an unexpected life transition. Forced to move out of the house I had been living in for over two years with nowhere to go except back home, I had no idea what to make of my life or what to do next. Overtaken by a state of confusion, I would pray earnestly and often and the only words God would speak to me were, “Trust Me” and “I love you”. I know now that it was because He knew I wouldn’t understand what would come in the months ahead but I had to trust Him and rest in the assurance that He loves me.
Even now, almost a year later, the confusion persists as I fight back tears while trying to persuade myself to continue to believe that there is a God. I dare not compare what I feel to the immense pain that Job felt, but it is comforting to know that if God turned his life from upside down to right-side up, surely He can do the same for me.
“Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” Those were Job’s words after losing his cattle, his children and his health.
If anyone had a right to complain about trouble, he certainly did.
And just when it seemed like things couldn’t possibly get worse, he found himself in the company of self-righteous men that claimed to be his friends. They hammered him with insults and accusations, questioning both his salvation and his conduct, and were upset when he found no consolation in their words. I’m not quite sure I’d be comforted by words like, “[God is disciplining you] because you’re a first class moral failure, because there’s no end to your sins”(Job 22:3-4 MSG). Talk about being kicked while you’re down.
While Job felt that God had left him – that He was punishing him unjustly – what he didn’t know was that God was testing him. Not because He thought Job might fail the test but because He knew that he would pass. In the midst of his affliction Job cursed many things but God wasn’t one of them. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel the weight of his suffering. The following passage shows us just how crushed he truly was:
“I don’t understand what’s going on.
I hate my life!
Since either way it ends up the same, I can only conclude
that God destroys the good right along with the bad.
When calamity hits and brings sudden death,
he folds his arms, aloof from the despair of the innocent.
He lets the wicked take over running the world,
he installs judges who can’t tell right from wrong.
If he’s not responsible, who is?” (Job 9:21-24 MSG)
Job had no idea what was going on behind the scenes. He had no knowledge of Satan’s conversation with God in which he asked for permission to bring calamity upon his life, certain that it would cause him to renounce his God and his salvation. He had no knowledge that God had strictly prohibited Satan from taking his life. That, prior to the series of unfortunate events that had just occurred, his Father had been bragging on him. “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”(Job 1:8)
Job didn’t know that God was yet for him. That He absolutely planned to restore him even though it looked like all that was left for him was certain death. He had been hand-selected for this particular trial.
We don’t know what’s going on backstage in our lives. All we can see are those things that are playing out in front of us. The things that don’t make any sense. The things that make us feel that God is surely against us. That He has forgotten about and forsaken us. We ask how much longer He expects us to endure the test and all He seems to give us is silence. And when He finally does speak, all He says is, “Trust Me” and “I love you”.
The only thing visible to us is what is taking place right now but we must remember that God can see much further down the road. He knows how the story ends. He is determined to get us to our expected end and the enemy is determined to prevent us from getting there. We must trust in God’s love when it is most difficult to do so and await the forthcoming deliverance that He promises to those who are His. And while we’re in the wait, we must trust Him to carry the weight of our burdens because it is not for us to carry.
Through our trials, let’s not seek to understand God’s mind. Let us instead seek to have the faith to trust His plan despite those things that we don’t understand.
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