How to Survive Times of Trials

I have always found the Book of Job a difficult book to read and study. True, the poetic narrative displays the Lord in a glorious manner, but it also shows the complete destruction of a man, his family, his fortune, his health. All that is spared is his life.

Job is often know for his patience, but it is hard to read Job without fully appreciating the level of suffering that he endured. Yet, he did not sin. That is the silver lining in this otherwise storm-tossed book.

One of the incredible realities about studying Scripture is how new things seemingly appear out of no where. I have read the Book of Job many times, and have even led overview studies (not in-depth studies) of the book, but something new jumped out at me this time as I was reading the text.

It is at the very end of Job 2:3, in which the Lord responds to Satan by saying, “although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” Those last two words struck me–without cause. That is probably what is so unsettling about the Book of Job, yet it is so true about life.

When we find ourselves in a period of intense suffering or trials, we instinctively ask the Why question, like this will help us better process our difficulty if we have a reason why. Unfortunately, most of the tragedies of life come and go and we may never fulling understand the why. Just like Job, our trials and sufferings are without cause. Yet, God uses these times for His glory and for our good. If you’re like me, that creates a gap in my thinking that can only be filled with trust. One of the things I learned during this brief study of Job is that we must be ready and willing to embrace the mystery of life–the unknowable answers to many of life’s problems. As we struggle for meaning, we can’t miss out on what God is doing, and we must be willing to accept the simple truth: “it’s not mine to know.”

A line by poet Robert Frost captures well the reality of the mystery of life expressed in the Book of Job: “But it was of the essence of the trial that you shouldn’t understand it at the time. It had to seem unmeaning to have meaning.”

Trust is a decision we make many times before the trials begin, but it is a reality we must live in the midst of trials. Again, Job captures this well when he states in Job 13:15– “though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (KJV).

Lord, I trust You in many areas of my life, give me the strength to trust in all areas of my life.–Chris Eller

This Week’s Core Virtue

God the Father (Psalm 121:1–2): We believe God is personally involved in and cares about the daily lives of His children.

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