Monday, May 20, 2019

When Times Were Good !

Have you ever wished you could go back in time when everything was 'better' ?  When your life was comfortable and you were happy and the future looked bright ?   Before your life fell apart? Before pain and suffering and tragedy changed everything ?

You are not alone.  I think most of us have been there at one time or another.
I was reading in Job yesterday  and realized that this is exactly what Job is wishing for in Chapter 29 of his book.

Look at his opening cry .  "Ohh I wish I were back where I used to be when times were so good!"

And he reminisces , listing all the things that defined him and his life - in the 'good old days'.

God was good, God was His trusted provider, protector, friendly Counselor. 
Job's children were all around him, his well-being was like cream under his feet. Even the rocks poured out affluence before him. 
He was respected everywhere he went.  The younger men did not dare show their faces  when Job sat at the gate - the older men stood to honor him, even the princes deferred to him. 
When Job opened his mouth and spoke, it blessed everyone who heard, and everyone marveled at the wisdom of his words. 
His righteousness was the standard to look up to. His judgments were just and true
He made God the most important focus in his life -  he lived by every word from His mouth. In fact it was more important to him than food (Job23:12).
Job was known for his philanthropy. His care for the poor, the blind and the lame was legendary.
He searched out the victims and freed them from the wicked who mistreated them.
He was secure, he was blessed beyond measure, he lived as a King. His God was with him.  Life was good and it could only get better - until the day he died ! 
Or .. so he believed.
We have all experienced it.   One morning begins as any other and we are totally unaware how drastically our life will change before the day ends. 
What a shock it must have been to Job when everything he thought was unshakable was shattered.  The loss of his servants, his flocks, his children, his health.   He fell from being the most respected to the most abhorred.  Even his wife saw only a hopelessly dark future.."curse God and die" was her advice. His friends accused him, "it must be your fault!"

What if Job had never been tested by God ?   What if Job's life had ended as it began?  Would we even know about him?  Perhaps not, except as a footnote in our bible as the example of  a perfectly blessed man.  What would we then have drawn from his life?  Proof that if we live godly lives we will be blessed and protected from all tribulations or life-sorrows?   
Then when hardships come, as they do to all of us, would we have been so shaken in our faith that we are left believing that we have been rejected by God?

Do you think Job was aware as he sat in sackcloth and ashes scraping his sores and mourning the death of his children that he was living out an example that would make his name a byword familiar on lips thousands of years later?
Would he have had any idea that the worst of his life was the best of his life if measured in terms of harvest value?   "Except a seed falls to the ground and dies... "

Job is our comfort when trials come our way.  Instead of letting our faith be shaken, our faith is our anchor. It will carry us through.  Look at Job's words -  interjected into his cries of despair  
 "But He knows the way that I take - 
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold!" (Job 23:10)

Are Job's words  echoed in I Peter 1:7 .... 

"In this you greatly rejoice, 
though now for a little while, if need be, 
you have been grieved by various trials
 that the genuineness of your faith , 
being much more precious than gold that perishes, 
though it is tested by fire, 
may be found to praise, honor and glory 
at the revelation of Jesus Christ,"


ellen b. said...

I'm glad we have the whole story but that doesn't make it easier. :)

Julie said...

No, Ellen, it doesn't, does it ! but like child birth it does help to know it will be worth the pain in the end ! (at least after the fact??)