Monday, June 22, 2015

The 5 Things I Learned from Job

I just finished reading through the book of Job. It was a little painful at times, Job's friends sure did did recite a lot of monologues. You know, "Woe to you, Job, for you have sinned and brought all this calamity upon yourself" kinda thing. I thought I was familiar enough with the story like everyone else. But lo and behold, God showed me things this time through that I had never noticed before, revelations that unfolded proving God's word truly is living and active. So I want to share with you the 5 things I learned from the book of Job.

1) Trial and hardship did not just happen to befall Job, God stepped aside and let it happen. Yep you heard that right! Satan asked God permission to mess with Job and God granted it! You probably think "What?! How could this be", well read it for yourself: "The Lord said to Satan: "Very Well then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life!"" (Ch. 1, verse 6) God sometimes allows things to happen to us for reasons we can't understand. We do know that ultimately there is a greater purpose and plan for why Satan is allowed to wreak havoc on our lives. 

Sometimes we need a sifting of things that need to be removed from our lives such as a hidden sin or pride that needs to be dealt with. Look at what Jesus says to Peter in Luke 22: 31, "...Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Here Jesus is about to tell Peter that he will deny him three times when approached if he was one of Jesus disciples. When Peter does that later, he is in terrible turmoil but because even the Lord interceded on his behalf, he came out of this trial strengthened and ready to encourage his fellow brothers in Christ. God wants us to come out of our trials strengthened and refined ready to encourage others with our testimony's of God's goodness and grace during the darkest times in our life, because even there, there is purpose behind the pain.

2) Don't get sidetracked by this world and all it holds for you. Material things, status, titles, jobs...all of those things don't matter. They come and go. Look at Job's reaction when in ONE day he lost his entire household, from his servants and livestock to his children! Consider Job's response in verse 21: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." You are probably thinking his comment was insensitive and he didn't care. In fact he did care very much and was devastated to lose everything but he kept the right perspective. 

My grandmother, in less than a year, lost her husband, sold almost everything she had and moved into an assisted living home. You would think she would be consoled by the fact that she was now closer to family that loved her, would visit and take care of her, but her mind was so wrapped around everything she lost she kept missing what she had gained. Sometimes God removes things from our lives to get our attention on Him or what matters most. The Lord gives and takes away, remember all we have belongs to Him we are merely stewards of it.

3) Sometimes you just need to keep your mouth shut and pray. Job had four friends that came to console him during his grieving time but after a while they decided to speak up. The first three friends reprimanded him for some "hidden sin" he must have committed trying to justify why all these bad things were happening. The fourth friend had a completely different perspective, he believed God was wanting to humble Job. Although some of their theology was correct, it was flawed, because each of them claimed to know what God was thinking. Suffering is not always used as punishment for sin but an opportunity to grow closer to God. Be careful not to speculate.

4) Here is the great part: God gave Job DOUBLE FOR HIS TROUBLE! He restored to him in material possessions and children what was taken from him originally. I believe God sees every tear drop, holds our hands during the scary times and carries us through the darkness. If he sees fit, He will restore to us in the physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual what we need to give Him the glory and testify of His grace to others!

5) Here is the amazing part: Job is known all over the world for his troubles but shared in more years of favor, peace and prosperity than many of us ever have and ever will. You see when God restored everything he allowed him to live to the ripe old age of 140! He got to see four generations after him. Imagine the spoiling and love he got to enjoy with that many grandkids! It ends with "...So he died old and full of years."(ch. 42, v 17) 

Do not allow your crisis or hardship to define who you are. Job did not let it define him. He was able to move past it and enjoy the time God gave him. If God knew that Job would wallow in self pity and "why me?" after the testing, God probably would have taken him home. Because what use to the kingdom would he have been? What kind of testimony would Job have if he was allowed to wallow in pity the rest of his life? Job did not let it define him, he moved past it and I am sure he was able to share his story with his future generations so that he could speak hope and life into his children when they faced hard times. 

Don't focus on your mistakes and failures, your past or even a difficult present circumstance. Focus on what you DO HAVE or CAN DO for God. What gifts do you have that are not being used? Cook, sing, sew, write, blog, photograph, whatever you can do for Jesus! Give it everything you got! You only have one chance, one lifetime to make a difference...start today!

Just as Job did, whether you are in a season of prosperity or a season of trial, let His praise ever be on your lips...

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