Those dudes in the scriptures? They were T-O-U-G-H peeps, my friends. The stuff they went through – endured – it’s truly beyond me.
Johah, Moses, Abraham, Job, David, the disciples and sooo many more! These dudes went through the ringer, man. I can’t even fathom it.
I get it: Some of them, at first, went through stuff without relying upon the Lord for help. But when they did turn to Him ~ when they did rely upon HIM, His power, His strength, they triumphed. Yes, even while suffering God can show us that because of Him, we have overcome.
That’s how our Savior does things. He pulls us up out of the broken pits of despair and suffering and works His wonders in and through those trials for the world to see. Glory be to God!
He doesn’t necessarily remove suffering, although we, small children that we are, like to think that a nice parent would do so.
Sometimes you have to allow your children to go through some stuff so they truly become stronger and learn and build character. All that good stuff, you know?
I laugh at myself of late, because I feel like I relate to Job. I laugh out loud because when it even goes through my little mind that I can relate to this dude and what he went through, it becomes crystal clear how small and weak I really am….ha ha. Why? Because what I am enduring right now is only a microscopic fraction of what Job actually went through in his time.
And if compared to the suffering that Christ endured? My trials cannot even be seen under a microscope!
Yes, I laugh.
And I cry.
I laugh and I cry because right now, along with the “normal” pain I carry with me all the time from the Fibro Monster, I am infected. Out of the blue (that’s what Fibro and CFS does – surprise!) my immune system started to shut down. Literally over night, my skin became inflamed and infected. It is now in my eyes (pinkeye), my face is covered in scabs (candida yeast) and I have fever blisters on my lips.
I cannot hug my kids or my husband. I can’t even kiss my puppy. I am itching all over and want to scratch my face off, but I can’t touch it. There is no escape. And it sucks rocks.
But…it’s really going to be okay. I’ve been here before. And I, unlike Job, have a doctor I can finally cave in and go to see today.
But when I think of Job, I often think only of how well he held up under adversity far greater than mine. I tend to walk in condemnation during such times because of that. I compare myself and my small faith as compared to men like these, and I come up quite short.
And then I realize later what I have done because God whispers to my heart – go and check a little deeper into the story, my daughter. Job was not so perfect in how he handled things either. He was human, like you. You can learn from him, yes. But also learn that he wasn’t pretending this was all fun and games and that’s not what I am trying to grow in you right now either.
I realize that Job, like me, at first accepted his plight with great dignity and minimal complaining…
“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).
So very often, when I am under duress, I stop right there in Job’s story. And then I walk away thinking I am an ungrateful child. But when I check a little further and go a little deeper, I see that eventually, Job had his human moments too. He, much like David in the Psalms, cries out. He doesn’t pretend he is loving this situation at all. He even goes so far as to curse his life.
Yes, long before spilling their hearts out to the Lord, these men, like little old me, also went through phases of resentment, bitterness, self-pity, and even anger for all the calamities they were facing.
None of us is perfect when we have an itch we cannot scratch…
Why is light given to him who suffers? Why is life given to those who feel sad in their soul? They wait for death, but there is none. They dig for it more than for hidden riches. They are filled with much joy and are glad, when they find the grave. Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and around whom God has built a wall? For I cry inside myself in front of my food. My cries pour out like water. What I was afraid of has come upon me. What filled me with fear has happened. I am not at rest, and I am not quiet. I have no rest, but only trouble.” Job 3:20-26
There’s no pretending on Job’s part that this is a walk in the park, friends. The key is that he sees his infection, but doesn’t place blame on the Lord for it. He cries out to Him instead. He is honest in his anguish. And when we honestly share our burdens with the Lord, it is then that He can truly take them for us.
In His timing, of course.
So yes, this is why I laugh at myself, friends. This is also why I cry sometimes. Because I am like Job even though my infection doesn’t come close to comparing to all that he endured. And unlike Job, I allow the enemy to make me berate myself before I realize what is even happening.
But the good news is that like Job, I do not blame God for my suffering. Thanks be to God that He speaks to us and ministers to our hearts through His Word. Thanks be to the Lord that He can “work all things together for our good.”!
We go through these little processes when we are “suffering” don’t we? It is part of what the Lord uses to mold us and shape us and build our character. It is part of surrender. It is part of dying to self. We struggle to scratch and scratch and scratch. We struggle to satisfy and obtain our own peace and relief. We struggle to the point we can even sometimes forget for a moment and lash out and fight against the One who knows us and loves us the most.
Until we finally give up.
Through all the struggle Job endured, the struggle to understand what was going on was the very itch he couldn’t seem to scratch. Searching for the answers and looking TO GOD is what finally brought him relief of sorts. Trying to understand more about God versus his present situation was part of what strengthened his already-strong faith and character.
Job may have become angry with his situation for a while, but he never really cursed God. He did, indeed curse his situation and cry out a lot about it though. He stopped short of accusing God for the suffering that was inflicted upon him, even though he was angry and upset about his plight.
I think this is the kind of thing that God wants from us. He wants us to cry out honestly about our plight – to HIM. He doesn’t want us to pretend it’s all okay and show how tough we are.
Even through the suffering, Job did not blame the Lord…he even admits he came to know him and build his relationship with him in a new way…
My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Job 42:5
I am infected. I am not tough about it. But far greater than the infection I carry around upon my face right now, I am filled with the love of Jesus. And He saves me!
- He scratches my itchy heart when it needs it.
- He brings relief to my soul when I cannot get any from my physical and emotional ailments.
- He has my heart in the palm of His mighty hand.
- He brings me a greater peace than any itch-scratcher-reliever-thing ever could.
And it is all for HIS glory anyway.
And oh, yah….
It’s not even about me.
“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this” (Isaiah 48:10).