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“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.” Job 1:1-3 (NIV).
STEP 2: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
The Book of Job begins by talking about how righteous Job is. He was a man of integrity. Not only was he a good man, but he was blessed as well. So much so that he was known as a “great man”.
I Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” That is exactly what Satan was doing…he even tells God (when God asks him “where have you been?”)…. Satan answers, “…roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” (Job 1:7). Satan wants to devour us. He is constantly looking for ways to cause us to stumble or relapse. The closer we are walking to God, the more he wants us. I don’t say that to discourage you but to encourage you that if Satan is fighting you right now, keep following God. DON’T LET THE DEVIL WIN!!! Jesus died so WE COULD WIN!! This is why it is so important to be aware of his schemes and “come to believe” that God can restore us – no matter what the devil takes from us.
There are many reasons we suffer. Sometimes we suffer as a result or consequence of our sin. Sometimes we suffer as a result of someone else’s sin. Suffering is not always about judgment. Sometimes it is a tool to teach us, test us, or strengthen us. There are also times when suffering is a result of a spiritual conflict going on between God and the powers of darkness, just as in the case of Job.
To make things even worse, Job’s wife and friends were either telling him to give up (“curse God and die”, Job 2:8), or that it was Job’s fault – that God was punishing him for some sin he had committed. He answered his wife, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
There are four things we learn from Job:
1. How to deal with unfairness
2. How to be honest with our emotions
3. How to see God’s goodness even when things seem bad
4. How to have faith and trust in God even when we are suffering.
Job faced many emotions throughout his suffering, including despair, confusion, and depression. Depression and other negative emotions are not sins if we don’t dwell on them. When we dwell on these negative emotions, they begin to fester and grow into bad attitudes, and eventually bad habits. If we will be honest about our feelings and take them to God, He will help us deal with them, and eventually change our attitude.
Even though Job felt desperate, confused (“WHY?”), and depressed, he knew that God has nothing to do with what we think of as “fairness”, but He is faithful and loving. He took his HONEST emotions and feelings to God, tried to see the good, and trusted and sought God until he had an answer. Even if it wasn’t necessarily the answer he wanted. When God did finally answer Him, it went like this:
1 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no one lives,
an uninhabited desert,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c]
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who gives the ibis wisdom
or gives the rooster understanding?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?”
God never gave Job the exact answer he wanted about why he had to lose so much, just as we may never get an answer until we see our Savior face to face. But Job was confident that God knew Him and had a purpose for His life. In Job 23:10, Job makes this statement about God: “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” And Job did come forth as gold. He is one of the biggest heroes of the faith because of his faith, trust, patience and perseverance. His faith was increased, he learned humility and his relationship with God grew stronger and closer. He received an even greater gift. He rediscovered the faithfulness of his God!!
Job had to come to a point where he was utterly helpless (Chapter 6). Once he admitted that he was helpless (Step 1), he trusted that God could and would restore him….AND GOD DID!!
We have to learn to trust God through our suffering. If we keep our minds on God and trust in Him, He will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). If we can trust God and BELIEVE that He can do it, He WILL restore us to sanity.
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