Greedy Gratitude 30 Day Devotional
Day 18 - Struggles
The Struggles of Life
“While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship”
Have you ever lost something that was dear to you, something you depended on? Or even had something taken away unexpectedly with no way of replacing it? If you said 'yes' then congratulations, you are human.
The Bible tells us that hard times will come when we will be tested, tried, persecuted, and so forth and to not be surprised when they happen but to count it all joy because they make us stronger. Whenever we hear about verses like these, we always imagine that the tests are easy, or not so drastic; but we never imagined it would be the very things we depend on, build our lives around, or where we find our security and purpose. Yet, it is what the Bible is talking about; and it tells us to have joy in them?
Job was a man in the Bible who lost everything. In one day, Job lost a war, he lost territory, he lost his livestock, which was basically his income; and to add injury to insult, he lost every single one of his children and eventually his home. Job lost everything in a split second and what did he do? He tore his robe in mourning and he worshipped God.
Job just lost everything, and he is worshipping God? Who does that? What kind of God does that? And who would worship him in spite of losing ...every ...single ...thing?
If you know anything about Job’s story then you know it isn’t a pretty one, far from it. Through a good portion of his life, Job is caught in a season of intense trial and loss. After losing his business, his land, his children, eventually he even loses his wife, his friends berate him in an attempt to offer wise counsel, and even his health starts to give way leaving him covered in sores and boils. He is homeless, dejected, destitute, and alone. Yet, even in his anger, despair and confusion, Job refuses to curse God in the midst of everyone telling him he is justified. Why? Because he knows who God is... even when everything else seems to prove otherwise.
Sometimes in life, we look at things that are lost as punishments for things we did or didn’t do and instead of looking to ourselves, we often play innocent and blame God. We ask him to explain himself, never thinking about or realizing that He doesn’t have to. A friend of mine once told a story about unanswered prayer in a time when she was praying for a woman to be healed and the dejection she felt when God didn’t answer the way she wanted. To her disappointment and surprise, God simply asked her if it mattered. If that person never got healed, is God still good? If you never mend that relationship or win that person back, is God still good in your life? If you never reach total financial security right when you are desperately needing it, is God still good in your life? When your life no longer looks like it used to, is God still a good God to you?
In the book of James, he says in chapter one verses 2 through 4 to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” We give thanks for our struggles because they make us stronger. However James says to “…. let perseverance finish its work in you…”, in other words, let God build your faith. Having joy in trials is not about pretending they are not painful; it is realizing that they are and allowing God to prove to you who He is and how he moves in your life in spite of them, and... letting Him be complete in your lack.
Dear friend, hard times will come and when they do, is God still good in spite of them?
ACTION STEP: Take time to ask God to give you strength in hard times, and then ask Him to help you to see Him clearly through them. Then worship God in your struggle, allowing him to be strong when you are weak and to remind you of those times when he provided in your lack.
May we continually seek to remember that God walks with us through whatever we face, in the trials and triumphs alike.