Job 1-3

Praise in the Midst of Pain

“He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The LORD gave me everything I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD! Job 1:21 NLT

We’ve all had seasons of pain in our lives. We’ve all experienced a time when we have had to face extreme disappointment, unexplained suffering, or devastating loss. And in those times of trouble, we are always tempted to question God regarding His love, power, faithfulness, or at times, even His existence. So the story of Job is one with which we can relate. Here is a man who had it all: Wealth, material possessions, a lovely family, and a vibrant relationship with his God. Then tragedy strikes. Not once, but four times. In a series of catastrophic events, Job loses everything. All of his livestock are stolen or destroyed. In a matter of hours, his net worth drops like a rock. He is broke. On top of that, he receives news that every one of his children are killed in a freak accident. All ten of them. Job’s world was rocked. His life would never be the same. And everything he knew about his God was about to be challenged. Understandably, he sinks into a depression, even cursing the day he was born. “At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth. He said: ‘Cursed be the day of my birth, and cursed be the night when I was conceived. Let that day be turned to darkness. Let it be lost even to God on high, and let it be shrouded in darkness. Yes, let the darkness and utter gloom claim it for its own. Let a black cloud overshadow it, and let the darkness terrify it'” (Job 3:1-5 NLT).

Job even seemed to be ready to die. “Oh, why should light be given to the weary, and life to those in misery? They long for death, and it won’t come. They search for death more eagerly than for hidden treasure” (Job 3:20-21 NLT). Yet in the midst of all his pain and darkness, Job cursed the day of his birth, but NOT HIS GOD – even when his wife suggested he do just that (Job 2:9). No, Job did not turn against God, in spite of his personal loss and physical suffering. At the loss of all his possessions and his children Job exclaimed, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The LORD gave me everything I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21 NLT). He was able to praise God even in the midst of it all. In fact, God testified that Job “still holds firmly to his integrity” (Job 2:3 NET). Even when  he found himself covered with sores from head to foot, he responded, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2:10 NLT). Through it all, Job held on to his integrity and His God. He understood something about the character of his God. He knew that God was good. He knew that God must have a purpose behind all that had happened. It didn’t make it any less painful or any easier to accept. In fact, Job would spend the next days wrestling with his concept of God. He would be challenged by his well-meaning friends. Job’s suffering was going to reveal a lot about himself and a lot about his God. Job would wrestle with concepts regarding God’s sovereignty and His love. Job would have to come to grips with whether God could be trusted. As his suffering continues, Job will go from resting in God to blaming God. He will even accuse God of wronging him (Job 19:6-7). But God never blasts him for his doubt or punishes him for his hasty words. Instead, He comforts Job, and eventually restores him. All throughout this story, we see a picture of a faithful, loving God who is active behind the scenes. He is aware of our suffering and has a plan for them. He is not caught off guard or found asleep at His post. He is fully aware and He cares. Suffering is a part of life lived in a fallen world. Will we allow it to change our perception about God, or learn to see Him in the midst of it? “We take the good days from God–why not also the bad days?” (Job 2:10 MSG).

Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Father, use this book to open my eyes to Your presence in my life – during the good times and the bad. Give me a heavenly perspective that lets me see You in ALL of my circumstances, not just the ones that I enjoy. You are a good God – all the time. Not just when things are going well. You’re still God in the darkest night. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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