Life isn’t always sunny skies and good days. There are also days of rain, sickness, and sadness. We were not promised a perfect life and if you think that is what you signed up for when you accepted Christ you were very wrong. I am here to let you know those bad days are required for good ones to occur. The good news is that at the end of our lives all of that will change. When our lives come to an end and we have fulfilled the purpose that God had for us we will be rewarded for a job well done. Until that time we will experience many ups and downs. It is important to remember that the downs are not a sign that we have done something wrong.
We can see this lesson come to life in the story of Job we find in the Bible. I have always found the story of Job to be fascinating. If you haven’t read the book of Job, I will encourage you to do so. For the sake of this post, I will give you a quick summary. Job was a man who had found favor with the Lord and had been blessed with riches. God knew that Job was a blameless man, so when Satan came looking for someone to test God directed him towards Job. Satan was given permission from God to test Job however he wanted but he couldn’t lay a finger on Job himself. Satan welcomed the opportunity to test Job because he believed that he could get him to curse the Lord. Satan’s first attack was to take everything from him including his house, his family, his crops, and even his livestock. Not even that made Job curse the Lord, he dropped to his knees and prayed. Job 1:21, “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.” When Satan saw that didn’t cause Job to curse the Lord he went back to God and said that if he was able to physically affect Job then he would surely turn on the Lord. God gave Satan permission to sicken him but not to take his life. Job was then given painful sores from head to toe. At that point, even Job’s wife told him to curse the Lord but he did not give in. He kept his faith in the goodness of God. When Job’s three friends came to mourn with him they sat in silence for seven days then opened up and gave their thoughts on why this was happening to their friend. They believed that it was a result of Job’s sin and that he was being punished. We know that was not the case because God tells us that Job was blameless, the real reason was to strengthen and grow Job’s faith in the Lord. At the end of the book, God restores Job to his forward glory and explains that humans are not meant to know everything and that it is okay. Job 42:1-2 says, “Then Job answered the Lord, and said, ‘I know that You can do all things. Nothing can put a stop to Your plans.’”
I find this book comforting and challenging. I never want to find myself in Job’s shoes but if I do I would hope that I would have the strength to see the test as an opportunity to grow in my strength. I can tell you now that I am not sure what would be my response would be. To be honest, I would probably complain and plead for God to take away the pain. Like most others, I am an expert at throwing myself a pity party. When things get tough I look for the reason, I ask what could I have possibly done wrong to get here. We learn that sometimes there is no reason other than God is giving us the opportunity to grow in our faith.
My challenge for you and for myself is to stop trying to figure out all the reasons behind why things happen. Knowing why doesn’t make the process any easier and it will not shorten the pain. One day we will know the way but it is not for us to understand this side of heaven. Work on being okay with the process of the ups and downs.