I can honestly say, without a doubt, that I will never be able to respond the way Job does in the Bible when everything goes wrong unless I place all of my faith and trust in God. In Job 1, Satan has roamed the earth to find someone to tempt and he ends up going to God and asking to tempt Job. Job has the perfect life really. He has many sons and daughters, many many acres of land, and wealth beyond belief. Within a days time, he loses all of it. God had told Satan he can tamper with anything, but not Job's life. Job's response to losing everything is quoted in the verses above. He doesn't blame God or blame anyone else, he simply knows that he lives in a fallen world. In Job 9, Job starts naming attributes of God and explains why he thinks God let this happen--saying that even the blameless will suffer in this world.
I look back on all the things I have been through in this life, never having lost a sibling or a parent, never having had wealth and lost it all, never having hundreds of acres to hear it all burned up, but I still have blamed God for the bad that happened/happens in my life. I don't think I have ever responded like Job--praising God in the midst of a trial. I normally just complain and then eventually I'll send up a prayer asking God why he would do such a thing.
I know last week's post was kind of on the same topic, but I obviously have more to say on this; and I want this to really sink in because, the thing is, we are going to go through so many trials in this life, it's a guarantee, and until we really understand how we need to react in these trials, it is just going to be that much harder to get through them.
I remember one time in Haiti, I think this was my first trip ever, we were doing door to door evangelism. It was me, another kid my age, and a couple missionaries. Each time we would "knock" on the door (some people just had curtains so we would shout "Bonswa") and we would ask if we could pray for the family and ask for any prayer requests. Surprisingly, most people had a bunch of prayer requests and they were more than happy to share them and let us pray for them. As we were walking to another house, we saw a fire. It took us about 10 minutes to get there, but when we finally did, we found that it was a house (or a little shack) made out of tin pieces and corn stalks. The place completely burnt down along with everything in it (besides the family, they got out safely). That family lost everything and I mean everything they owned. In Haiti, people don't have much. They're poor. They don't have an extra storage space. They don't even have a big house in the first place. So when a house catches on fire, everything is gone. The craziest part of all of this though was the way the lady responded. She wasn't crying. She wasn't screaming. She just had the look of, "Well, that's unfortunate." One of the missionaries asked her what happen and asked why she wasn't upset. The lady responded (and I'm paraphrasing, this was a while ago), "God protected me. I was sleeping and he woke me and told me to get out. I am alive because of God. I will worship Him and praise Him for the rest of my days." What a response!? I go through things way less intense than that and I get angry with God. This lady wasn't even mad and she just lost everything!
Here's the point of all of this. When we go through trials, it's tough, it sucks, but ultimately, our life here is temporary and our life here is not what we live for. We live for God and what happens here will not carry on with us forever. Eventually, all will be right.
Last thing, if you haven't read Job before, I encourage you to do so. One, so you can start to see how Job reacted and start to get that perspective on how we ought to react in situations. And, two, so you can see how his friends reacted in this and see how not to respond. Job's friends were telling him to basically give up on God. Those are not the fiends that we need to surround ourselves with. Our best friends, the people we talk to every day, should be friends that lift us up and help us back on the path that we want to be on. For me, the path I want to be on is God's path so I need friends that will push me in that direction. Also, I want to be the friend that does that for my friends. I want to be the person my friends can count on to be gentle but to help them back up in times of trials and doubts. Do you have friends like that in your life? Are you that friend?