So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot. Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. Job 2:7-10 (NLT)
This week we’re learning lessons about suffering from someone who understood what it is to lose everything you have: health, wealth, family and even reputation…we’re learning from Job.
So far the lessons have included don’t speak for God and don’t speak before God speaks.
Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”
I have seen it happen way too often, that when trouble or difficulty comes, the very last place people want to be is hanging around the church.
Some of that has to do with pride; we really don't want the whole church to see us at our weakest.
Let’s face it, being the object of other people’s pity is not a comfortable seat. It’s much easier to roll over and go back to sleep than to face all those smiling, happy people.
But another reason why people put distance between themselves and church during times of trouble is our tendency to blame God for being unfair. Our troubles are hard and we think if God really cared, He would not have let this awful stuff happen to me.
So our trouble is God's fault.
This is the essence of Mrs. Job's statement to her husband about maintaining his integrity – worshiping God when there’s nothing left. Job fired back that they had received so much blessing from God’s hand. Now, in a time of severe hardship he was asking his bride to do the math; they were always in God’s hands.
For much of their life they had enjoyed sunshine; now their landscape is rainy, bleak and dreary. And Job cries out, Blessed be my God who knows how much of each is needed.
Job was not going to hide from God, or blame all his trouble on God. Job decided to hang in with God and struggle it out with Him. That’s what Jacob did; Jacob wrestled it out with God at the Jabok river crossing. Jacob wrestled with God over his troubles and fears. And somehow Jacob sensed that as he wrestled with what God was pushing him to do, he would find answers that were higher than his own ability to handle life's toughest questions.
This is what the Psalmist meant when he said, My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For You, Today…
If you’re up against it – so much, every day - don't hide from God, worship Him. You don’t have to be one of those “happy faces” at church, false smile pasted on. The church should be the very last place in the universe for falseness.
And if you’re in Job’s kitchen right now, you need truth, sitting alongside, praying, breathing-in/breathing-out. You’re with Jacob at the Jabok River crossing, my friend in pain.
So, struggle; but in your struggle, sit still and wait for God to speak.
He does, you know.