The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. (Job 1:21)
Regardless of the circumstances in life, the cry of the Christian is to be the cry of Job. In his unimaginable affliction, having lost his wealth, his health, and all ten of his children, Job turned the matter over to the God, never wavering in his belief that God is to be praised at all times and in all situations. We can imagine that in the depths of Job’s heart he was crying for the return of all that he had lost. But we have recorded for us today a most excellent word of comfort, for Job directs our attention toward the Almighty and away from our affliction.
The person who is a Christian in name only will not accept the furnace of affliction from the hand of God. The name-only Christian resents affliction. The name-only Christian runs from affliction. The name-only Christian rails against affliction. But the true child of God refuses to shrink back from the sorrows of life and the sufferings that mark the landscape; the true believer is like Job, knowing that God can always be trusted, even when we cannot trace Him. Job did not understand what he was going through, and sadly, his three closest friends made matters worse by accusing him of bringing affliction upon himself through sin. Even his own wife told Job to “Curse God and die!” Yet despite all his suffering and the horrifically bad counsel he received from those closest to him, “Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:22; 2:9-10).
Have you been dealing with difficulty lately? Difficulty at the office? Difficulty in a relationship? Difficulty in your family? Difficulty in your health? Regardless of whatever you may be facing, keep your focus in the same direction as Job did: heavenward. God is not asleep on His throne, nor is He indifferent to your difficulties. Rather, just as He did with Job, God has delivered them to you for two reasons: His glory and your good.
Remember to praise Him, not only in your seasons of prosperity but also in your seasons of pain. C. S. Lewis wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I fully understand that pain does not feel like a blessing, but we are to praise the name of the Lord all the same, for He is working all things, even our suffering and sorrow, for our ultimate good. . . and our ultimate good, of course, is being conformed to the likeness of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who, even when He suffered physical and emotional agony that you and I will never know, “entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!