Discover His heart: No matter the struggle, our lives are in His hands
“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen; nobody knows but Jesus. Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, Glory hallelujah!” The author of this old spiritual is unknown, but plenty of troubled souls through the decades could have authored it, individuals with trouble so deep that no one but Jesus could really fathom it. These songs of woe are not the kind of music that we listen to for comfort or relaxation, but when we’re going through a deep trial, we sometimes are comforted by the fact that someone understands. Job was looking for a little understanding, a little comfort from his friends, but all he got was grief. “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child…”
@ Job 6
Job had just listened to one of his comforters accuse him of sinning in Chapter 4, followed up in Chapel 5 by advice to rejoice in the Lord’s correction because it brings repentance. Solomon’s writing concurs with this advice, “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves.” (Proverbs 3:11-12) It was great advice, but unfortunately it was not germane to the subject – Job was not being corrected.
At this point, sitting in an ash heap, covered with sores and having lost everything, Job responded, “If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would outweigh all the sands of the sea. That is why I spoke impulsively. For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows…Don’t I have a right to complain?…Don’t people complain about unsalted food?” (1-4,6)
Did he have a right to complain? Absolutely! Will it help? Not much. Job’s question makes me want to repent for ever complaining about anything – bad beds, bad food, sore feet, old cars – all trivial compared to Job’s pain. Yes, I’m convicted. However, rejection, loneliness and disease often bring a word of justified complaint or frustration from us, but those words seldom help and just hearing them from our lips often deepens the pain.
Our hearts go out to Job and the trouble he’s seen that nobody knows or understands… but the Lord. Job’s friends insisted his misfortunes were correction, “But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.” (5:17) Job decided his misfortunes were an attack, “For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows. Their poison infects my spirit. God’s terrors are lined up against me.” (6:4) But God, Job’s Almighty, knew Job’s misfortunes were a test, “All right, you may test him,’ the Lord said to Satan.” (1:12) Job never understood who was really throwing those arrows, but in the overall scheme of things, it was irrelevant. We learn in the chapters to come that God was testing Job in an area that even Satan knew nothing about.
In the trials we face, we may endure the judgment of others or assign blame for it ourselves; but regardless of all this, it is God who knows the purpose and the promise in everything we go through. Will we trust Him through the process?
Moving Forward: Not complaining today! Nope, not me. Not singin’ any songs of woe or tellin’ any sad tales. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
Tomorrow @ Isaiah 12-17