on the darkest days

Grief-stricken, numb, overwhelmed by what life has thrown our way. I’ve heard the statement from young people angry things didn’t go their way and from older people drowning in sorrow. You know the statement because you’ve heard it too or maybe thought it yourself. “I wish I had never been born.”

Such is the lament of Job in the 3rd chapter of the book bearing his name. In fact, Job doesn’t just throw out the one line and wail. Job waxes quite poetic as he takes 24 verses to eloquently curse the day he was born. He lost his 10 children to disaster and lost his wealth, and his servants to raiding parties. The grief was so overwhelming he struggled to find the will and strength to go on.

But God has a plan for Job’s life not yet revealed.

God had a purpose for this man he lovingly created. Just imagine if Job died at birth… Now imagine the millions of people through the years who have found guidance, strength, and wisdom from the story of this man who suffered so greatly yet never turned from God.

In March 17th’s blog, I referenced the various calamities that hit our family of 5 in 2003 resulting in trips to the ER for each of us at different times. That fall I picked up Chuck Swindoll’s book Job: A Man of Heroic Endurance (Great Lives Series). I needed to know his secret. How could a life get hit so hard and still seek God. Through God’s hand at work and the lessons he brought through Job, my perspective on troubled times matured and prepared me for trials that came later and are yet to come.

Job 3 has great truths for us to walk away with. First, sorrow and trials come to us all. Sometimes the hardships seem greater than our strength to survive them but like Job we need to hang on. Job’s difficult days would go on a while longer but before his story closes we will see a man of God refined by fire and blessed by his Creator.

Second, we must keep on keeping on. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t check out. You are not forgotten or forsaken by God. In fact, in the hardest moments God may be closer than we ever imagined! Remember God had a plan and a purpose for Job even though at that moment Job preferred death. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We were made to be in relationship with Him and each other. I can’t imagine my life without the people God planted in it. Even that student who seems so difficult to love has a purpose, to teach me to be more Christ-like.

Brothers and Sisters, on the most difficult days remember Job and the truths of God he brings to light.

Lord, thank you for Job. Though I hate the sorrows he endured, I draw such reassurance from someone who has been there. Just as you created Job with a plan and purpose, so you create each of us. Be my strength and light on the darkest of days. May your light shine through me to be light during someone else’s midnight. Amen

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