They say, “There are only two things that are certain: death and taxes.” I submit there are three: death, taxes, and suffering. Sooner or later life will take a turn for the worse and it will shatter your world and shake your faith. And you need to be ready.
I’ve been in shock for the past three weeks! Our life has changed so quickly that I feel I have whiplash from it all. People are losing their jobs, school is cancelled, and we cannot get together for church or celebrations. Weddings have been postponed, concerts and sporting event cancelled! It feels surreal and apocalyptic! And, it’s scary! My family is suffering from the secondary effects of Coronavirus known as COVID-19 and I am sure your family is too! We are all suffering!
That’s why I have written a series of 6 articles about “suffering” from the book of Job. This book records the suffering of a good man and how it stretched his faith. I believe it contains several important lessons about life that we need to hear and understand. Especially right now as the whole world seems to be suffering together! I’m calling this series, “When Life Takes a Turn for the Worse.” And the best way to start off is by asking “Are good people exempt from suffering?
The answer is obvious. No, good people ARE NOT exempt from suffering. I ask this question because we tend to forget that knowing and following Jesus doesn’t exclude us from the troubles and trials of life. Our reasoning goes something like this: God is in control (Right?) (Right! ), He blesses those who trust and obey (Right?) (Right!), therefore nothing bad will ever happen to me if I trust and obey God (Right?) (Wrong!)
Dads Know Best!
I found some humor in all of this that made me smile, so before I get too deep into it, let me share what some dads are tweeting right now about the challenges and suffering they are enduring:
The dad next door to our apartment in Brooklyn just took his small kids outside to let them scream as loud as they want for a few minutes before taking them back inside
— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) March 20, 2020
For the first time in history you can help save humanity by sitting on the couch, watching TV and surfing the internet. For God's sake, don't mess this up.
— Bob Golen (@BobGolen) March 20, 2020
A Good Man
Let’s think about a good man whose life took a turn for the worse. He lived several thousand years ago and his record is found in the oldest book of the Bible: the book of Job. The first two chapters reveal three facts about his life.
I. The Devotion Job Had.
Chapter 1 begins by telling us that he was DEVOTED TO GOD. Verse 1 says that he was “blameless” (well-balanced, he had a good relationship with his God, his neighbors, and his family), “upright” (he treated others right), “feared God” (he treated God with respect), “shunned evil” (he consistently avoided that which is wrong). That’s a good example for us to follow! Our lives should be characterized by the same qualities! So Job was devoted to God.
He was also DEVOTED TO HIS FAMILY. Verse 2 tells us he had 7 sons and 3 daughters. Verse 3 tells us that he was more than able to support and take care of his family. And verses 4 and 5 tell us that he was even concerned about their relationship with God. Job made sure they were right with Him. This is another good example for us to follow! God help us to treat our family the way Job treated his! He was devoted to God and He was devoted to his family.
Wouldn’t you like to have him for a friend? Wouldn’t it be great if he was a member of your church and you had him for a Sunday School teacher? He has his life together! He’s walking the straight and narrow! He’s setting a good example! And if anyone should be exempt from suffering, it should be Job! But that isn’t the case.
II. The Disasters Job Experienced.
Verse 6 takes us to Heaven where God is meeting with a group of Angels and Satan is with them . . . (verses 6-12). Disaster strikes and Job loses his finances and his children (vs. 13-19). How does Job respond?
‘At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” ‘ Job 1:20-21
WOW! So far, he’s taking it a lot better than I would. But as the old saying goes, “When it rains it pours.” That’s what Job is experiencing.
A Meeting with the Devil
In chapter 2, the Devil invited himself to another meeting in Heaven (vs. 1-6). And verse 7 says, Disaster strikes a third time and Job loses his health. In verse 8, his wife is so upset and angry that she wishes he would go ahead and die. Now, picture Job in your mind. He has lost his finances, his children, his health, and his marriage. He’s grieving over the death of his kids. And his body is covered with painful sores. That’s a sad picture isn’t it?
I wonder, can you relate to just a little bit of what he’s going through? Some of you know what it’s like to lose your finances and not be able to support your family. Others know what it’s like to suddenly lose a loved one. Some of you know what it’s like to lose your health. And some of you know what’s it like to lose your marriage. Most of you can relate just a little bit to Job. And the rest of you will be able to relate on down the road – because no one is exempt from the trials and troubles of life. Everybody hurts, grieves, and suffers, at some point in their lives. And in the midst of that hurt, there is a decision you have to make.
III. The Decision Job Faced.
In chapter 2 verses 9-11 & 2:4-5. Satan is saying, “The only reason he is devoted to you is because you’ve been good to him. Stop blessing him, let him suffer, and he will curse you!” That’s the decision Job faced and that’s the decision you and I face every time life takes a turn for the worse.
- Do I curse God or do I bless Him?
- Do I doubt God or trust Him?
- And do I walk by sight or walk by faith?
That’s the decision we face when life takes a turn for the worse.
What did Job do?
‘At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” ‘ Job 1:20-21’He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. ‘ Job 2:10
In other words, he decided to trust God. And that’s what we need to do when life takes a turn for the worse. We need to trust God.
Why should I trust God when life takes a turn for the worse? Because it’s the RIGHT thing to do. Afterall, God is in total control, He knows how to run the universe, and He deserves our trust. It’s the right thing to do and it’s the BEST thing to do. God will take care of you through thick and thin if you’ll just trust Him.
Is it an easy decision? Not all the time, especially when circumstances lie and tell you, “God let you down.” “He doesn’t care.” “He won’t help you.” Deciding to trust God when life takes a turn for the worse may not be an easy decision, but it is the right decision – and the best decision.
What about you? I hope and pray that God has used this message to speak to your heart and I hope this will help you trust God when life takes a turn for the worse.