I just didn’t see this coming!

I didn’t see empty sports arenas coming. I didn’t see a Wall Street crash coming. I didn’t see entertainment halls and Broadway theaters and movie houses empty! I didn’t see that coming. I didn’t see church buildings completely empty on Sundays in every city and suburb in America coming! I just didn’t see it coming!

There was another man who didn’t see it coming either. It was a different time and a different context. It wasn’t about the entire world, it was about one man. His name was Job.

In the book of Job we see a man, a faithful, God-fearing man, lose everything precious to him. While there are many lessons to be learned in Job about facing trials and tragedy, I want to focus on the lessons we can apply to our lives today.

A Man of God
Throughout Job’s story, we see one constant. Job began as a man of God, and at the end of the story he was still a man of God.

He experienced unspeakable tragedy and loss. In one afternoon his ten children died. All TEN. That alone should have been enough to break him. And then all of his wealth, and it was substantial, was gone. Job truly had nothing of earthly value left. Not long afterward, as he was mourning his family, he was given the burden of a horrid skin disease.

Through these tragedies, Job kept his faith. Through it all, he trusted in and continued to bless the Lord. In Job 1:21 he said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Later, in chapter 2 verse 10, he said, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?”

Right now, we are facing a lot of uncertainty and restrictions in our lives. Keep the faith!

Here’s what I want you to know: there is NO right way to feel in this situation. Like Job, we are facing something we didn’t expect to face. I pray that none of us experiences a loss like he did, but I also pray that we hold on to our faith as he did. If you are a faithful lover of Jesus, it will help you get through these dark times!

He Gave God the Glory
Job, even in his lowest moments, gave God all the glory and in no way turned away. He trusted God completely, in all situations: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (13:15).

Have you ever listened to those around you when you needed comfort? I have. And as in Job’s case, sometimes I could hear the Lord speak to me through that wise counsel and sometimes I knew that what they were saying was not right.

You see, Job’s friends all pulled out their own theology to explain why this terrible thing was happening. They thought God was punishing him. Job, knowing that His God is GOOD and that he had not sinned or done anything to cause this horrible series of events, silences them by pointing out multiple times that there is NO connection between righteousness and prosperity and being sinful and suffering.

Job continues to give God the Glory, even when his friends feel that God is intentionally punishing Job. Here’s what we know:

  1. God allowed what happened to Job to happen because He wanted to show that Job valued God more than earthly possessions and relationships.
  2. Job proved that God was correct. He did, in fact, love the Lord more.
  3. Even after this, Job’s suffering continued.

Job continues to give God the Glory, even when his friends feel that God is intentionally punishing Job. Here’s what we know:

Job proved that suffering, especially in his case, was not because of God’s anger. And in spite of that suffering, he continued to give God the Glory.

He Questioned God
Job, faithful though he was, was only a man. And as his life of suffering dragged on, he had a pity party and questioned God.

In 13:23–24 he said, “How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin. Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?

He even wanted to take God to court! “If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments” (23:3–4).

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t pray for something unless you are ready to receive it?” Well, Job got his day in court with God. But it wasn’t God who was on trial.

God starts His conversation with Job by saying, “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” (38:1–2)

I’m not sure about you, but when I realize I’ve put my foot in my mouth I stop talking and start seriously listening. And that is what Job did. He had questioned God’s plan, and God in turn questioned Job, asking him if he thought he knew more than the Creator of the universe about what needed to happen.

Job isn’t the only man who ever questioned the Lord. Habakkuk complained and questioned (1:12-2:1), Gideon challenged God to prove proof of Gideon’s ability (Judges 6:36), Sarah and Abraham laugh at God’s promise (Genesis 17:17-22; 18:10-15), and Thomas doubted the resurrection (John 20:24-29).

Each of us has doubts and fears. If this should drag on, you may have some good days AND some bad days. You may question why it is happening. I would encourage you to keep faith instead of fear! God has proven Himself, now let him work through and in your life.

Repentance
In the end, Job repented for questioning his great God! I’m not saying you will question God, but if you love him and you do question him, in time, like Job, you will have to repent for questioning him because God is God and He will take care of His own!

Job responded to God’s list of charges by saying, “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more” (40:4-5). But God wasn’t done. He went on with His list of questions for Job.

Job’s response, when God has finished, was:

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (42:1-6).

Job finally understood. He had thought, before his great losses and during his suffering, that he already understood the majesty of the Lord. After their conversation, however, he could truly see and understand. That encounter changed Job and strengthened his faith even more!

Twice as Much!
In the end, Job came out of the pain with an unbelievable BOUNCE of twice as much!

“The Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before …. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part …  After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years (42:10; 12; 16-17).

I believe that’s going to happen for you!

We’re praying for you!

Pastor Rich & Dr. Robyn