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Trials and Tribulations - When the going gets tough, hang in there - Job 23:10-11
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. Job 23:10-11
Job's example instructs us in avoiding the “Why me?” approach. God, for His own reasons, put Job through a torture test. One of those reasons, given scripture’s context, was because he knew Job would endure and remain faithful. Everyone bailed out on Job. Even his wife, during the peak of misfortune, advised him to curse God for allowing it.
But Job pressed on in faith. Faith when absolutely nothing earthly was going well. Wealth, health and everything else had collapsed.
Maybe you have recently seen a tough test. I actually know a few on this list who have. Real big tests, which might prompt the “Why me?” question. Perhaps circumstantially and a bit ironically, so have I; the peak of which, at least I hope it was the peak, occurred about a month ago. The cherry on top of the whip cream disaster sundae came when my car broke down. As I rolled into the driveway, white smoke billowed out from under the hood. My son ran outside and asked me, knowing already about some of the other concurrent issues, “Why is God doing this?”. I told him, “Not sure, but He has His reasons.”
I actually knew one of them. Correct that, two of them. Reason #1, I had become complacent as a leader, had taken my eye off the ball. That ball being the scope of my family responsibilities, which tie in directly to my relationship with the same One taking action to wake me up. Reason #2, in the way He did it, one aspect of the difficult circumstance amazingly opened up and offered a solution to the primary that would not have otherwise been available. Put another way, if difficult thing #2 had not occurred concurrently with worse thing #1, #1 would have swallowed me up. He, in His ability to see into the future, had me make one move which allowed the only avenue out of a big problem I would soon become aware of.
I met with my church pastor a couple of weeks ago, told him I needed some advice. We talked, and as always, he referenced scripture as the guideline. He also told me about issues he had been recently helping others out with. Upon hearing them, it was quite evident to me that my recent struggles, although real and significant, were somewhat miniscule compared to those I was hearing about.
So much of it has to do with perspective. In fact, perspective makes all the difference. How we view and handle trials will, in large part, establish our legacy. It will define who we are and how we are remembered. When we stand before God, that legacy will be the indicator of our earthly walk with Him.
Like Job, my prayer is that the Lord commends me and says “Well done good and faithful servant.” A hoped for scenario which could never come about without the shaping and molding process He undertakes in me; a process which, due to my own tendency in stepping up front and pushing Him aside, requires He snap me back in line.
So life ain’t easy at times. I remember when I was a young kid, I had just joined the Navy and things seemed to be getting more and more difficult. My brother, who had gone out into the world at a much younger age than I, told me something which stuck: “It’s only going to get tougher, Frank. It’s just going to get tougher.”
He was correct, and it has. Next thing you know, you are almost 50 years old. Today is my birthday, I’m 48. What happened, and where has time gone? What do I have to show for it?
Actually, as per what really matters, I have acquired infinite wealth. I have a wonderful wife and kids who love me. Even more so, I have a God who does as well.
I didn’t buy Microsoft stock in 1983, but who cares? I have them and Him.
To make it an even better day, my sister Peg sent me a Muhammad Ali t-shirt. I’m going to wear it on Monday. Thanks Peg.
Life is good then. My car is running fine, I have a Muhammad Ali t-shirt and God gave me air to breathe today.