As Christians, we all experience the ups and downs that come with this brief journey we call life, and we find our way forward with the help and assurance when the Holy Spirit is at the helm. However, imagine that you wake up tomorrow morning to the news that your job laid you off, the bank repossessed your car, and canceled your credit cards. You also learn that your two children perished in an automobile accident in the early morning, and your doctor unexpectedly stops by to tell you that you have stage-4 cancer. How would you respond to such a rapid cascade of successive devastating news? Would you praise God, or would you curse Him?
To better illustrate, let us look at the life of a man named Job (pronounced Jobe) who experienced such an ordeal at the hands of Satan himself. The Bible teaches that Job was the greatest of all the men in the east, he had a large family consisting of his wife, three daughters, and seven sons, and he had great wealth and many servants. He was what we might call today a modern Billy Graham with a Jeff Bezos bank account. However, before we look further into Job’s life and experience, the Bible begins his story with an actual conversation between God and Satan.
“The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil.” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord.”Job 1:7-12
During their conversation, God spoke of Job’s spiritual wealth, whereas Satan only focused on Job’s physical prosperity claiming that it was the source that elevated him spiritually. Satan further argued that if God were to take it all away, Job would curse Him to His face. That is one of the significant faith tests when we encounter trials in life, such as a financial loss or the loss of a loved one or both, and it is one of Satan’s most dangerous weapons in his arsenal to challenge and weaken our faith. Nonetheless, if we hold to what matters most to God, we will persevere, but what matters to God?
Here are five things for us to keep in mind:
Be Blameless – To be blameless is to live a life so that no one can accuse you of any wrongdoing in both words and actions.
Be Upright – To be upright is to live an honest life and full of integrity according to God’s word’s absolute authority.
Be Fearful – To be in fear of God is to have a genuine reverence or respect for God and that of His holy written word.
Resist Evil – To resist evil is to turn away from temptations that would lead to a life of wickedness and separation from God.
Be Faithful – To be faithful is to place one’s hope and trust fully in God in all things for without faith in God, we cannot be found blameless, upright, fearful, nor can we resist evil.
Considering this, we must evaluate our faith and determine if it stands firm on God’s word or stands on a thin layer of ice that is ready to give way under the slightest pressure. What would be our reaction if, one day, we lost everything?
Back to Job, the Lord permitted Satan to test Job, and in a single day, Job lost all ten of his children, his wealth, and his servants. Amid his anguish, he did not sin or blame God; instead, he praised the Lord, saying, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Therefore, let us pursue what matters to God, and when we encounter the various trials of life, let us be encouraged to seek first God’s kingdom and follow Him by Faith because Faith is the key.
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“God never leaves you nor forsakes you.” I’ve heard that before. “Jesus will leave the 99 to come after you.” I’ve heard that one too. Meanwhile, fear creeps up when life hurls a season of loneliness our way, and poof! Churchy sayings hold as much weight as thin air. Believe it or not, God is cheering us on and inviting us to thrive amidst the loneliness. Yes, it’s weird and scary, but this emptiness is a safe space where you get to hear the God of everything speak the loudest. You’re safe because God is so good at owning goodness amidst our dank, confused, lonely seasons, and because of Him, you aren’t so by yourself.”