Then Comes Trouble
Job 3:1-5, 25
The Bible tells us that Job was a righteous man in that he feared God. Job 1:1. We also know that he was a generous man, and that he made supplication to God continually for his children, in case they sinned against God! He was a well respected member of the community and was greatly blessed of God. But one day all that changed when Satan, with God’s permission, took away all his wealth, his family, and his health!
Job is a wonderful example and encouragement when troubles enter our lives! His humanity is refreshing to us because it shows his fallibility, and what is possible for us also.
I’m sure most of us have been able to identify with Job at some point in our life; when we were pressed to the point that it didn’t seem there would be any end to the trial. Ours, may not have been as great a trial as Job’s but you would assure us all that it was just as difficult for you as his was to him. Yet, the story of Job has a wonderful conclusion, perhaps something missing in our trials. The reason for this absence is that we only see the trial through our own eyes, and not through God’s!
There are three things we must see if we would experience a godly conclusion to our trials. The first is:
I. Trials are God’s tools for refining
God desires to refine us. Like the many scriptural examples of silver or gold being refined, this metaphor teaches us that heat is applied to the substance revealing the dross, which is then scraped away. The heat of the trial reveals its dross which presents itself as a weakness in character. The impurities of a weak character surface when the heat is turned up! It behooves us to remember that as long as character weakness is present, there will be a repetition of the trial because God desires for us to grow. His removal of deficient character in our lives brings us to a place of Christ likeness (Eph. 2:10). But as long as these undesirables remain, God’s work of refining must carry on.
It is through the removal process that holiness is produced! Holiness is a purification process in the lives of God’s children when viewed from a practical sense. We have been made righteous or holy by the blood of Christ, and therefore spiritually complete, but we are also human and responsible to, as Paul says, “Present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…” Romans 12:1-2. Because Jesus came to give us life and that we should live that life abundantly, we must be refined!
Secondly, in order to experience a godly resolution to our trial, we need to understand that:
II. Trials are God’s means of bringing us closer to Him
In Job’s case, he maintained his righteousness and insisted that he was undeserved of God’s discipline. Job was obviously in error, as we know that trials have a purpose beyond man’s initial thoughts of chastisement. Job had limited knowledge of God and was in need of a closer walk with the King of Glory! This closer walk would be acquired through an increase in Godly knowledge. But Godly knowledge isn’t automatic or guaranteed, for as we see daily, Christians suffer through trials and hardships and have no closer a walk with God. Why then do believers not draw closer to God when experiencing trials? The answer is found in James 1:2-4 which says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work…” You see, God wants patience through the trial to prevail. How does this happen? Remember, James says, “count it all joy”. This perspective can come only by a change in the mind regarding the trial you are facing. Rather than dwelling on how much your trial hurts, one must dwell on the purpose of that trial. I Peter 1:7 says, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth…” Did you catch that? “More precious than of gold”! When was the last time you equated your trial with being more precious than gold? Knowing therefore that the design and purpose of the trial, we should be driven to prayer and Bible reading which makes us less self-reliant and more God-reliant. Are we not then drawing closer to Him?
III. Trials are God’s discipline to forge humility
Probably, no greater quality should be evident in a Christian’s life than humility! This is where we find Job at the end of his ordeal. It says in Job 42:6, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes”. Wow! This sounds strange to most of us considering where he’s been, but not strange for one who has been humbled by his own experiences. When we experience this kind of humility, we come away with a different opinion of ourselves and of what we do and do not deserve. But, humility can only come when we allow God to pierce our hearts with His word. And as Job humbled himself under the mighty hand of God, when we do the same, we will like Job, have an entirely different opinion of God. We will understand through experience that He is a sovereign God, and say as Paul did to the Philippians, “I have learned (through experience) in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content”. And, that when trials are upon us to comprehend His word to us that says, “My grace is sufficient for thee, because my strength is made perfect in weakness”.
Oh! Let the trials come, and let us grow in grace!