When All Else is Lost, Don't Lose Your Faith.

Bible Reading: Job 1; 2; 3 - Listen

We are given unusual insight into Job's trial that Job himself was never privy to. Perhaps God allowed him to be tested, not only to strengthen his faith, but also to strengthen the faith of countless Christians since then. This account gives us a godly example for enduring trials, as well as the insight that suffering is not always the result of our own wrongdoing. Many Christians, myself included, have grown up with the misconception that if we love and serve God, life will be good, and if we fail to obey God, life will be difficult. We often experience a crisis in our faith when we endure suffering for no apparent reason, especially when we have served God faithfully and sacrificially.

When informed of his loss of material possessions and loved ones, and again when afflicted with severe physical pain, Job expressed his overwhelming grief, but he did not waver in his faith. He recognized God's sovereignty and praised God for who he is, not for what he gives. Listen to Job's response: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised" (1:21). "We accept the good that God gives us. Shouldn't we also accept the bad?" (2:10 GW).

Job described his intense emotional pain: "For sighing comes to me instead of food; my groans pour out like water. What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil" (3:24-26). God doesn't expect or want me to gloss over my heartache, disappointment and grief, pretending that nothing is wrong. He already knows and feels the pain that is in my heart; he weeps with me. He doesn't fault me for expressing my anguish and pain; rather, he desires for me to cry out to him and share my deep sorrow. However, in the midst of my distress, he wants me to remain faithful to him and trust him.

After Job's extreme loss, it was said of him, "In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing" (1:22). Even after he was afflicted physically, it was written, "In all this, Job did not sin in what he said" (2:10). What an amazing testament! May I resist the temptation to "charge God with wrongdoing" when I endure hardship and sorrow. May I trust in God's heart instead of my own feelings when my spirit groans within me. May my fear turn to faith when I face my worst nightmare. "In all this," even in my expression of grief and despair, may my lips still speak God's praise and glorify his name.