My wife and I have been reading the book of Job this past month. If any man in history hit a rough spot, it was him. He had it all; incredible health, wealth, land, servants, a huge family, respect in his city, and a blameless life. Everyone looked at him and said, "I want to be this man!" And then God allowed for divine reasons of His own this unthinkable tragedy to befall Job. God gives Satan the reigns to afflict Job's body with boils and sores; bandits come and steal away all of Job's wealth, livestock and possessions, and Satan causes the house where Job's kids are feasting to fall on top of them and kill them. The only thing Job has left is a wife who tells Job to "curse God and die." Job couldn't go any lower.
Imagine if you were stripped of everything you had. If your family was killed, your house dispossessed, your possessions robbed of you, your health taken away; you’re sitting in the mud in the cold Washington rain with nothing but hurt and sorrow. You couldn’t go any lower.
A few years back I was in Scotland doing a bagpiping competition. I traveled with some other band members who were not saved. And one day I was sharing with them about what I believed, when one of them brought up the suffering of Job. This person said to me, "I just might consider Christianity to be a good religion if I didn’t know about what God did to Job. How could I ever trust a God who could let a man go through all that? What if he did that to me? I couldn’t give my life to a God like that!" I remember thinking at the time that it was a good question. And right now I’m still convinced that it’s a great question. How can we trust a God who lets His children go through hard times? Is God dependable when we suffer loss? Is his heart for us really good?
This month we are considering the possibility that stormy times in our life may actually cause our faith to grow and allow us to sink deeper roots into what we believe.
There’s something about Jesus sleeping in a boat in the middle of a storm that causes us to pause. There’s something about Job’s reaction to his circumstances that makes us stop and wonder, "what’s really going on here?" How can Job say, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; Blessed be the Name of the Lord!" There’s something about Horatio Spafford loosing his daughters in the ocean and then writing the words to the hymn "It is well with my soul." It makes us wonder: from what perspective am I seeing my life? How am I seeing all that is going on around me?
Perspective changes everything. God sees things perfectly clearly. We see like we looking through a steamed up car windshield. So much of our life is caught up in trying to understand, when our life should be truly about surrendering to Another’s perspective. That’s why we call it faith. That’s why we call it trust. If we truly saw things the way God sees them, our whole world would change. We would still experience suffering. We would still experience loss. We would still grieve. But something would happen in us as we look from that place where we know that the heart of God is good, and that He is trustworthy, and His plans for his children are amazing! We would look up and see that the hills are filled with chariots of fire…