When the hard things pile up

Sometimes, the hard things pile up, and we can feel like Job. Even those who don’t read the Bible know about the tragedies of Job.

In the midst of it all, the Bible tells us, Job walked forward, but could not see God. He looked backward, but could not perceive Him. (Job 23:8)

Where was God in all that Job had famously faced? He had lost everything.

Job goes on to say again,” I cannot behold Him. I cannot see Him”. (Job 23:9-10).

And in many ways, this is how this hard year has felt.

Where are you, Lord?

Many of us have seen hard, sad things but few like Job.

But then Job, right in the midst of his pain and heartache says, “But He knows the way that I take. When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

“Gold.”

I wonder, did Job pound his fist and shout that word, or did he barely choke it out between a river of tears?

And just what ways did Job take, in the midst of all his suffering and loss, that he could confidently proclaim that he would come forth as gold?

The one who so famously hurt, who lost so very much, penned these words thousands of years ago-“My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth. More than my necessary food.”(Job 23:11-12)

“More than food!”

And here’s something even harder to wrap your mind around, if we are going to honestly read the text, Job had been doing all this, serving the Lord, helping the poor, living righteously, when God had allowed the evil one to attack Job. (See Job 1)

This book of the Bible utterly destroys the prosperity gospel, and reminds us that God will allow His children to suffer hard things in order to bring about a greater good and glory to Himself.

It’s raw and it’s real. And one more reason we can trust the authenticity of the Bible. It’s not sugar-coated.

Job is honest about his emotions. He talks of wishing he were never born (Job 3:3), and says the thing he has feared has happened to him, and he has no peace or rest (Job 3:25). On top of all that, his wife and his “friends“ were less than helpful.

But, over and over, Job bathes his emotions with truth and says, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him” (Job 13:15)

In all that happened, Job came forth as gold because He held tight to the Lord and His Words.

The book of Job includes some of the most powerful truths about God for us to hold onto in our hard times. I can hardly read chapters 38 and 39, when the Lord answers Job out of the whirlwind, without wanting to fall flat on my face.

And here’s the thing that struck me as I landed on Job on this day, of this long year, that has felt so very hard — this life is not our story.

It’s not our story.

It’s not Jobs story, or America’s story, or even yours or mine Oh, we often cast our country and ourselves at the center of the universe.

But that role is already filled. There’s only one star of the show. It’s about Him. It’s about His glory.

And sometimes, it’s in the darkest of days for countries, and for individuals, that He shines the brightest. It’s there that He revives the soul.

It’s often then that a people, walking in darkness, might see the great light and the captives are set free!

And it is often BECAUSE of the hard times, not despite them, that we can come to say of the Lord, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see You.” (Job 42:5)

In these hard days, may our foot hold fast to His steps.
May we keep His way and not turn aside.
May we not depart from the commandment of His lips.
May we treasure the words of His mouth…
More than my necessary food. (Job 23:11-12)

Oh friend, He has us! Let’s hold tight to Him. May others see Him in us for their good and His glory! All glory to Him!

4 thoughts on “When the hard things pile up

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