Dianne Barker here with encouragement for your hard place. Yes, I saw you there…stooped under that load and stumbling. I noticed the tears, too, and heard your heart’s cry. Why is life so complicated?
We thought the path would be smoother. Pursuing our calling from God shouldn’t be that difficult…should it?
All these distractions dividing our focus, leaving us scattered and anxious and seriously questioning the purpose…our purpose…God’s purpose.
The Lord and Satan had an intriguing conversation about a man named Job. There’s no one like him on this earth, the Lord said. He’s “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
Satan said that’s because the Lord had put a hedge around Job and blessed him with prosperity. If he lost everything, he’d cave.
To settle the matter, the Lord gave Satan permission to test Job. The Enemy unleashed his fury, striking Job’s vast livestock population, his servants, his ten children, and his health.
In a breath of time Job went from prosperity to desperation. As he sat in ashes scraping his sores with a piece of broken pottery and grieving his loss, his wife urged, “Curse God and die!”
The tragedy puzzled me. The Lord brought up Job’s name! It seemed unfair that a good man should suffer such loss to prove something to Satan. Of course, that wasn’t the point of Job’s experience.
In turmoil Job cursed the day he was born. “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?”
He said, “I loathe my very life.”
Receiving bad counsel from three friends seemed to launch Job into defense mode. “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” He insisted, “He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
Job had questions and he wanted an audience with the Lord. When he got it he fell speechless and let the Lord do the talking. Listening in centuries later gave me answers, too.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions?”
“Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?”
“Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons?”
“Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?”
“Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?”
“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?”
Job responded, “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.” But the Lord wasn’t finished.
“Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his?”
“Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.”
Job answered, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”
Job finished the crash course on the trustworthiness of sovereign God needing no explanation. The Lord had brought up his name confident he wouldn’t cave…and he didn’t.
Through all his suffering, Job never knew he’d see a happy ending. The Lord blessed him with greater prosperity than before and gave him ten more children. He lived another 140 years, enjoying his children and theirs to the fourth generation.
God is sovereign and he is trustworthy. Learning that, I believe, was the point of Job’s experience.
Are you in bleak circumstances? What if the Lord and Satan had a conversation about you? How do you know they didn’t?
Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media. Visit www.diannebarker.com.
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