We live in a fallen, broken world that sometimes is so full of pain we are unable to catch our breath between blows. Sickness attacks our bodies and pain-filled scenes invade our hearts.
I have a feeling you are all too familiar with this. I know I am.
Right now, I have friends all over the country who are suffering greatly and my heart is breaking with them. Some sweet friends are trudging through crumbling marriages, financial ruin, and crushing custody battles. Others are desperately seeking health answers, dealing with unexplainable loss, and learning to live without basic needs. Their hearts, spirits, and for some, even faith is breaking under the weight of the storms that are surging around them.
Yet these very trials and storms are being allowed by God’s own hand.
How do you feel about that? The very God that loves you enough to count the number of hairs on your head is allowing these hurtful situations? Situations that cut so deep we don’t know if we will ever be able to recover…
When I start to ask the age old question “why?” in my suffering, God gently draws me back to Job and I am reminded that it’s not the why that matters, but the way that I respond to the pain that holds the key to my heart transformation.
I love Job. The Bible tells us that Job was “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8)
But did you realize that God not only allowed Job to be tested by Satan but He actually suggested Job specifically to him? God chose him for such a task and removed his hand of protection over Job. He allowed Satan to test him and do whatever he wanted, as long as Satan didn’t kill him.
Now I know what you’re thinking – why on earth would God withdraw His hand of protection over a man who was such a devoted true follower?
The answer is simple – God knew that Job would never let his worldly circumstances change his view of God’s goodness. God knew that Job would remain a true and faithful servant even if he walked through unimaginable pain and loss – even if the rest of the world and those around him advised otherwise. God knew the intricate workings of Job’s devoted heart, just as He knows yours.
Dear one, God doesn’t want you to suffer just to suffer – that is not how He works. He loves us entirely too much for that. He just knows what it takes to bring us to our knees to have a deeper relationship with Him and a deeper understanding of His love for us. Unfortunately, it usually takes pain to get us down before Him, hands raised in total surrender. For it’s in those deep wounding moments that we realize just how out of our hands our lives are and how much we need our Jesus to be our tether to His peace-filled side.
And once we learn to submit to whatever trials have been given us, only then can we praise Him in the midst of the storm.
For it’s in those trials, in the midst of the muck and the mire, that we grow.
Last night, my heart was struggling with the idea that healing, not the journey, should be my ultimate goal. Then God, in His all knowing way of my heart, reminded me of His truth – a truth I knew, yet I had let be clouded. God whispered to me to look at the book of Job and count how many chapters were in Job – 42. Then He asked me to count how many verses spoke of Job’s healing – 10.
There are 42 chapters about Job’s suffering, his relationships with friends and family (as rough as they were), and his crying out in agony to his Father. Yet, there are only 10 verses about his healing and his life thereafter. That’s a big difference! Suffering matters and the way Job was responding amidst it was more important than the actual physical healing that occurred later.
If you are fighting a hard battle, dear one, you have been chosen and allowed by our Father to walk this road. I know that’s a hard pill to swallow. But just like Job, you have been chosen to walk through this storm for a reason. Maybe you have been chosen because you are a faithful follower of our Savior and the world needs to watch your chapters unfold as they watch that faithfulness play out in your life. Maybe you have been chosen because you are seeking something greater than this storm and Jesus wants to show you He is that THAT. Maybe you have been chosen to be reminded that God’s will is greater than yours, and that He is worthy to be praised.
No matter the “why” God has you in this battle, how are you going to respond to the pain? Because how you respond is the part that fills the chapters of your life and one that can give great glory to our Lord and Savior. And that, dear friend, is what matters the most.