Wednesday, March 28, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 36 ~ The Patience of Job

Day 36 ~ The Patience of Job
James 5:10-11  Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
Job's story is not an unfamiliar one.  It is the story of "why?"  Why would God allow/cause suffering?  Why won't God make the pain go away?  Where is God in the midst of all this pain?  Job's life was a good life.  He had family and friends and a good job.  God had granted him a seemingly unshakeable faith.  That is, until Satan came along and tested God.  He told God that if God would just remove Job's blessings, Job would curse God and reject his faith.  God allowed Satan to pretty much do everything to Job but kill him.  Job, from the pit of despair, cried out to God for an answer.  "Why would you allow this, oh Lord!"  Job, it seems, was putting God on trial!      

Job may be the oldest book in the whole Bible which means that this questioning of God is nothing new.  Job may be one of the first to ask "why" of God,  and he is certainly not the last.  In fact, the very same cry is found on the lips of our dying Lord while hanging on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34, cf. Psalm 22:1)  Jesus received no immediate answer.

We desperately want to know why.  Why do we suffer?  Why is there evil in the world?  Why would a good God not intervene?  Maybe we are not meant to know "why."  Maybe even if we knew "why" it wouldn't solve our problems.  Perhaps if God wanted us to know "why" He would have told us and He hasn't told us because He knows better.  Though we may not get the answer to the "why" of forsakenness, we do get a response.  And the response is far better than we could ever hope or imagine!

Job attempts to put God on trial when suddenly, God shows up!  God comes to Job and turns the tables on Job, "Brace yourself like a man, I will question you, and you shall answer me!"  (Job 38:3)  God goes on to show Job that there are just some things beyond our comprehension.  Job repents and the Lord has mercy on Job.  "The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first" (Job 42:12).  Job went through hell and cried out to the Lord, and the Lord answered with a new life.  This is a picture of what is accomplished for us through Christ on the cross.  He is forsaken by God, taking all of our sin and shame away, and three days later He rises again to eternal life. With that resurrection He promises that He will raise us with Him on the Last Day.

We will face suffering, pain, and death in this life.  Why?  Who knows.  But, what we do know is that this does not lead to eternal death or God forsakenness.  For Christ is risen for you!  We may never get at the reasons for our pain, but the one thing we do know for certain is that, in Christ, we are redeemed and He is making all things right.

Confession:  Heavenly Father, your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not my ways.  Forgive me for not trusting your thoughts or your ways.  Teach me to trust in you through my trials and struggles by keeping my eyes fixed on your Son Jesus who endured the cross for me and will raise me up with Him on the last day.  Give me the perseverance of Job.  AMEN.

Challenge:  Pray today for all those suffering from earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.  Ask the Lord how you might help the people who suffer in such tragedies.

Pastor Bob

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