Through the many discouraging events that come our way throughout life, none wounds us the deepest as discovering who our true friends are. Those who leave and those who remain when trouble strikes.
One of the many facets of God's character is fellowship and unity. While God was putting the finishing touches on creation, he saw Adam alone in the garden, the Lord God declared, “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a suitable companion for him.” (Genesis 2:18). Relationship is the hallmark of God's love.
We are created to love and support one another in the good times and bad. I remember part of the wedding vow goes something like this, “ for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” It's a commitment to remain faithful in all circumstances-just like God remains faithful to us in our circumstances.
With the current global crisis we are all experiencing many people are searching the scriptures looking for answers. I've seen many teachings on the book of Job. He was a man who lived during the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). He was not a direct relative, but a man who honored the Lord.
Not many have been more afflicted by Satan than Job, but the strange thing is God allowed it ( Job 1:12). From the opening chapters we discover that Job was very blessed and a prosperous man. He was a respected leader of his community, generous to anyone in need, gave wise counsel, an all around good guy.
In one day we are told that he is totally wiped out. All his flocks were either stolen or destroyed, his children were also killed by a freak accident, and all that was left was a couple of servants and his wife. With all this disaster that had suddenly come upon him, we learn that his wife did not support him in honoring the Lord. Her counsel was to give up, “Why don't you just curse God and die” but Job refused. He accepted all this devastation with grace. (Job 2:9)
When all his friends learned what happened, they did the moral thing, come to mourn with him. By the time they had come, Job was covered with boils from head to toe, sitting in ashes. It was so bad that they didn't recognize the man they had once known. After a week of mourning with Job, the silence was broken.
Job had obviously thought long and hard about the events that had taken place. He really searched his heart and could not find a fault or any sin that would have brought this upon him. His first discussion with his friends states this, but it was kind of a pity party. His friends had obviously thought long and hard about his situation and decided to state their opinions.
Why do we immediately think that when something goes wrong in a person's life that it is because of some hidden fault? That is exactly what Job's friends accused him of, gently at first, but then with more zeal. Job declared his innocence, that he had done nothing wrong, was not holding on to sin or resisting God in any way. His friends did not believe him. Finally Job got upset and he wanted to know the charges against him. Why God had handed down this judgment on him?
Job finally received an answer, but not the one he was looking for. The Lord spoke to him, but not about sin or wrong doing, but about questioning His authority. The Lord asked him about unknowable details of creation that no one but God could know. The Lord challenged him to give an answer, which Job could not and he conceded to the Almighty's authority.
One thing that should be noted is the Lord never accused Job of sin and this was not punishment, but a further refinement of his character. The only condemnation the Lord had was against Job's friends. The friends needed to bring sacrifices for their sins and the Lord told Job to offer a prayer for them. The friends were ashamed and corrected by God, and then the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.(Job 42:7-17)
The beauty of this story is “Judge not lest you be judged” (Luke 6:36-38). The Lord is the only one who knows all hearts and minds. Our purpose is love one another, to be good, kind and faithful to our friends and family when trouble comes-which no one is immune.
My family has suffered a similar trial as Job. The poor economic situation has brought devastating loss to our home. I have put my faith in the Lord and have trusted him with every fiber of my being. I know this situation is not for any hidden fault or punishment for wrong doing, yet I have felt the searing eyes of judgment. I have felt the social snub from people we were close too. I have discovered those who I loved the most and treasured their friendship have abandoned me.
I have forgiven them and I keep them in prayer, knowing that the Lord is their only judge. I keep my heart focused on Jesus, knowing that his blessing will come upon us he will restore everything that we have lost. It’s the Lord that will cause those who have judged us to be ashamed, just like Job’s friends. Hopefully they will repent and we will be restored.
So, how are you doing these days? Are you judging others for the crisis they are in? Or are you loving and supporting them-sticking closer than a brother in their time of need? (Proverbs 18:24) I hope that you are—that is exactly what we are called to do in Christ.
Are you in a Job trial- have you lost everything and don't have an answer why? Don't give up—Keep believing, keep trusting—the Lord rewards everyone for their faithfulness, in this life and in eternity. (1 Samuel 26:23)
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