“But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:10
How is your faith?
Is your faith strong because you have gone through the trials this life will bring, and you stood firm in your faith?
Or is your faith strong because life is good?
Are you in the midst of an incredibly trying time, one that makes you question your faith, but doing all you can to keep your eyes fixed above?
Are you witnessing the suffering of loved ones and close friends, pleading with God for healing and threatening to turn away from Him if He doesn’t provide a miracle?
The enemy is close, tempting us with the lies that God shouldn’t let bad things happen to good people. He’s close, whispering to us that if God can’t change our situation, or the situation of a loved one, then why even bother with faith at all? The enemy is close, waiting for us to receive difficult news so he can pounce on us and start pulling out the blocks of our faith like a Jenga tower. One by one, he’ll continue with his dance until our faith is crumbled because that is his goal.
I’m in a season where I feel my faith being tested. My mother in law suddenly passed away two months ago, and it makes absolutely no sense. It’s my personal attack, and the enemy is very near tempting me to turn away from God. In the past two months, more bad things have happened to those around me. It may not be my personal experience, but it’s added to the enemy’s tactics. None of it makes sense.
Isn’t it much easier to stay firm in our faith when everything is going well? In the book of Job, we see a conversation between God and Satan. God says, “look at Job, he’s so faithful!” And Satan responds, “of course he is. You have surrounded him with blessings. Nothing bad has ever happened to him. Allow me to work my magic, I’ll show you his faith is result of the wall of protection you’ve built around him.” (I encourage you to read Job 1 and 2, as this is my own paraphrase.) So, God allows Satan to attack Job with the one exception that Satan cannot kill Job. Job loses all of his livestock (his livelihood), his children, and strikes Job with lesions all over his body. Yet, Job remains faithful.
We will experience hardships in this life with Christ. God knows our hearts, and He knows if our faith is strong or shallow. The trials in our life show us the depth of our faith. We prepare for the storms when the waters are calm. We grow the foundation of our faith so when life hits us out of nowhere, we can lean on the Truth and trust God to see us through. For me, this doesn’t always look pretty. Some days, I can read Scripture and pray. Other days, my conversations with God are full of anger and disbelief. A few weeks ago, at church during the worship set I looked up and said, “I don’t want to praise You. I am angry. I don’t understand why all this is happening.” As I shared this with some friends, feeling guilty for admitting it, they encouraged me by reminding me God can handle it; the important thing is that I’m still talking to Him.
Our God didn’t create death and illness. He created eternal life. All the bad stuff, it’s a result of sin. The bad stuff happening in our lives isn’t God’s doing. It’s a product of our sinful nature. During the seasons of testing, we find out what our faith is made of. It’s not easy to continue fixing our eyes above when the trials come. It takes intentionality. It takes blind trust that there is a reason . . . because there is. It takes hope.
So, how’s your faith? No matter where you stand, I am praying for you to keep your eyes fixed above. Keep talking to God and know He can handle anything. He will never leave you.
In December 2016, God put Job on my heart. The topic of pain and suffering weighed so heavily on my heart, I had to read and write. God, He is so good. God knew I would need the truths He encouraged me to write down just a few months later. Four months have passed since we lost Lorrie, and I find myself again diving into Job with the First Five app. Tonight, Job 1:21 stood out to me: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised forever.” Initially, I couldn’t imagine how Job (and King David did this as well) could worship God after receiving devastating news. Tonight, God reminded me . . . when Lorrie passed away, I needed to go to church that next Sunday. I turned to God, and in the midst of questioning why, I surrendered and trusted in His plan. Now, I’m not saying I am like Job. Not at all. Tonight, though, God showed me how far I have come on this journey with Him. Instead of turning away, I leaned in. He continues to be my Rock, my Shield, my Fortress as I navigate this life. Life with God doesn’t mean an absence of pain, and it doesn’t minimize the pain. Life with God allows me to withstand the pain, and to live with hope. If you have doubts or questions about God, or if you are in a season where your faith seems flimsy, I would love to listen to your concerns and encourage you. Blessings, dear friends.