You know the kind where things appear OK but inside you feel uneasy and not quite settled.
I can't put my finger on it. I just know that I feel a little "off".
A bit down one minute and then melancholy the next.
Wondering if God is really there when it seems like He is absent.
And not knowing why is just aggravating.
For that reason alone- not knowing why, I decided to begin reading the book of Job this week .
If anyone has a reason to wonder if God is there and really cares about him, it is Job. In one day, his life was changed forever. All ten of his children died, he lost his livestock-which were numerous and the means of his great wealth, and he had nothing left.
Then to make matters worse, his body became covered with painful sores from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, and his sweet devoted wife tells him "to curse God". Not much support there.
Along comes three of his friends who sit with him for one week not saying a word and then begin to chastise him for not trusting God. One after the other begins to accuse him of some sin in his life, wondering if he cheated people or harbored ill thoughts.
Maybe you know those type of friends. The ones who come to you when you have been going thru a long trial of suffering and ask you " Is there some sin you are hiding in your heart?". Not at all comforting and you begin to wonder what you might have done.
To go backwards a bit, Job's troubles began when satan came to God's throne and said he had been roaming throughout the earth. God then asked him:
"Have you considered my servant Job?"
Although I have read this story numerous times, this time I was struck by the fact that God is the One who initiated satan to tempt Job to forsake the LORD.
I guess He does that with us. He considers us and Job to be faithful. That we will stick to the fact that God can handle whatever comes our way. That , in the end, we will trust Him completely; that we believe He is faithful. That God will sustain, strengthen and give us exactly what we need during those times when life has us guessing if we can make it through this trial.
Oh, but it isn't easy. And it isn't pretty.
I have had enough heart wrenching times in my life where it seemed that EVERYTHING was falling apart, that I couldn't go on:
The unexpected, early death of my mom.
My sons running away from home because I had hurt them.
A child who was so distraught and depressed that they wanted to end their life.
My husband losing his job.
The death of my dad.
I could go on but I'm sure you get the picture that we all will go through really really hard times in our lives at some point. I hate to be the bearer of some not so great news but none of us goes through life unscathed. We will all face heart breaking, and what seem to be unsurmountable obstacles that have the capability of side-swiping our faith, causing us to doubt if God is even there. It is just what happens.
In the 19th chapter of Job, in the middle of hearing his friends reasonings of why all these horrible things have occured, Job says:
" I know that my Redeemer lives"
So I began thinking of how it is that I know my Redeemer lives and came up with the following:
- Because I know in the core of my being that YOU love me deeply and without conditions.
- Because You forgive me-over and over again of my same sins.
- Because You have upheld me and given me strength and courage to go on in the darkest moments.
- Because You have allowed me to keep living when someone I love was taken too early from my life.
- Because You have never given up on me- when I have felt like giving up.
- Because You have sustained me and sustained those I love and deeply care about- in the hardest times of our lives.
- Because Your Grace has kept me.
- Because You use me-that in itself is a miracle
- Even when I don't understand Your ways and Your plans.
- Even when it seems some of my prayers go unanswered.
- Even when life gets so HARD that I wonder how I will keep going on, of how someone I love can keep gong on
- Even when a situation, problem or trial seems helpless and unending.
- Even when it appears to me that You are absent and don't care, because deep down I know you really do.
It was so comforting to read those words today "that I know my Redeemer lives".
I know He does.