There is HOPE even in the most HOPELESS situation
May 24 Bible Reading: Job Chapters 1-3
"So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes." (Job 2:7-8)
The Book of Job raises some fundamental questions about evil, suffering, justice, the meaning of life, and the extent to which we, as human beings, can understand God’s ways. There are few people in this world who have experienced such immense pain, loss and suffering to the level that Job had experienced, and anyone who has experienced a tragedy will also struggle with the same question that had occupied Job and his friends: “Why?” The book of Job is a timeless story of human beings trying to use their finite understanding to explain calamity. However, one fact emerges from the story of Job: there is hope even in the most hopeless situation!
It is evident that Job was a man of high moral character who practiced what he preached. He was a man of integrity who was "blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil" (1:1). However, on a single day all of Job’s possessions and his children were taken away from him (1:13-19); he also lost his health (2:1–8) and even his wife told him to “curse God and die!” (2:9). Finally, Job even lost hope (7:6) and it appeared that God had turned against him. In reality, it was just the opposite – God was so confident in Job’s integrity that He trusted Job in his battle against Satan, and allowed him to go through the whole ordeal. It was much later that Job’s hope was renewed when his fortunes and family were finally restored to him (42:7–17).
One lesson for us from Job’s story is that we can never fully understand or explain misfortune in our lives because we do not have all the facts, but we do know that God responded with compassion during each episode of Job’s experience, and proved that He was both trustworthy and kind. God initially limited Satan’s attacks and did not allow him to kill him (1:12; 2:6); He answered Job even if His questions went beyond Job’s understanding (Job 38–41); He vindicated Job before his friends (42:7–9); and He finally restored Job’s losses (42:12–17). When we can truly comprehend God working behind the scenes on our behalf, it should drive us to the place where Job ended up finally—at the feet of God, in humility, worship, and praise!
Let us not blame either Satan or God for the troubles we face today. In fact, we are morally responsible for the choices that we make. God’s sovereignty is a comforting thought as we contend with an increasingly chaotic world. God may allow evil in His world, but He does not allow it to take total control. He will permit it to spread only so far before He cuts it back. Ultimately He will do away with all sin and evil and those who promote it, handing over the rule of His perfect creation to His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:24–28; Phil. 2:9–11).
Remember, there is hope even in the most hopeless situation of our lives! In the case of Job, he could maintain his integrity even after loosing everything that was valuable for him (2:9); he had a wife through whom he had children later, he had friends who kept him occupied through his suffering, and he had a God on his side who had immense faith in his integrity. Through Job’s experience, we understand that only God knows best how to bring glory to Himself; He always works for our ultimate good, and that He is always worthy of our total love and commitment at all times. Furthermore, God always has a purpose in permitting suffering in our lives even though we may never fully comprehend it.
Job knew nothing about Satan’s challenge to God, and had no idea that the enemy was using him as a reason for slandering God. Neither did Job know that God would use his sufferings to defeat Satan. But, God trusted Job and for that reason his faith was tested. Let us be clear that if our faith is not tested, it cannot be trusted as well (Jam. 1:1–8; 1 Pet. 1:3–9). We are bound to face suffering in the near future, but we should always remember that there is hope even in the most hopeless situation of our lives.