"But He knows the path I take; when He has tested me, I will come out as pure gold (Job 23:10). "As gold from the furnace, I shall come forth, purified, when my trial is over." This was the very sentiment of Job's declaration.
There he was, a god-fearing man who no one was able to point a finger at; yet, he lost all he had through no fault of his own. He was wealthy, yet humble. Held in high honour, yet meek. His life was charted by the same routine; honouring God and making intercession for his children in the event they may have displeased God in any way. Such commitment! Such example of putting God first! But it didn't stop there.
It was his custom to be a source of encouragement to the discouraged. He strengthened the weak, supported the falling, and interceded for those who were unable to pray for themselves. His life was perfect. However, little he knew, his fate was being decided making way for his faith to grow; like it or not. He was always aware that someone was observing him (Hebrews 4:13), and for him that was welcomed. However, he didn't consider another observer, the accuser of God's children, who didn't mean him any good.
At Job's appraisal conference, in the heavenly court, it was ironic that while God boasted about Job, Satan sought occasion to attack him. In his accusation, he challenged God:
- "But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face" (Job 1:11)!
God gave him permission to do just that but warned him not to harm Job physically. With that, Satan went out and struck Job. He took all his possession, right down to his children. If that wasn't enough, because Job worshipped God despite his attack (Job 1:21), Satan went back to God and retorted,
- "Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse You to your face" (Job 2:5-6)!
Once again, God gave him the go-ahead, but cautioned him not to touch Job's life. You see, Job's response to his first attack infuriated Satan, who was convinced that Job was willing to accept the loss of his family and property as long as his own skin was safe. Satan's next step was to inflict physical suffering upon Job to prove his original accusation. He poured out the full measure of his poisonous venom on Job. He inflicted him with boils from his head to his feet. We can only imagine Job's excruciating pain. We can picture his writhing. We can conceptualise his agony.
It is, however, notable how God limited Satan, and in this case, for He did not allow Satan to touch Job's life. He the Life-Giver, is the only one can exert that power. It is amazing to know that we serve a God who has the last say in everything that concerns His creation. Satan was Job's enemy, and is our enemy because he actively looks for people to attack with temptation (1 Peter 5:8-9). His goal, which he carries out lies and deception, is for people to hate God. Job, a blameless and upright man who had been greatly blessed was a perfect target for Satan. Any person who is committed to God should expect Satan's attacks, for he not only hates God, but also God's people.
Job could not in his wildest dreams, understand what was happening to him and the reason for their occurrence. But he did not curse God as his distraught wife advised; instead, he cursed the day he was born. Once again, Satan's attempt failed, so he enticed one of Job's friends to taunt him. He boldly told Job that a good and innocent person never suffers; those who suffer are being punished for past sins; and Job, because he was suffering, had done something wrong in God's eyes. Job's three friends, in turns, accused him, criticised him, humiliated, and passed judgement on him. Was Job discouraged? Yes, he was! Did he feel wretched? Yes, he did! Yet, Job did not for once, lose his integrity.
But alas! In his deep anguish, he made the mistake and questioned God's sovereignty and justice. Throughout the discourse, Job's friends asked him several times to admit his sin and ask for forgiveness. Eventually, Job indeed repented. But ironically, Job's repentance was not the kind called by his friends. He asked for forgiveness, not for committing secret sins, but for questioning God's sovereignty and justice. Job repented of his attitude and acknowledged God's great power and perfect justice.
We sin when we angrily ask, "If God is in control, how could He let this happen?" Because we are locked into time, unable to see beyond today, we cannot know the reasons for everything that happens. Thus, we most often choose between doubt and trust. We must always trust with all our unanswered questions.
Job, on reflection on God's questions (38:2-3), openly and honestly faced God and admitted that he was the one who was foolish. Can you envision Job praying, "Lord, please help me not to use what I cannot understand as an excuse for lack of faith to trust You. Lord I do not have enough faith to trust You fully; strengthen my faith dear Lord."
Well, after Job's acknowledgement of his mistake, it is amazing how God made it clear that Job's friends were wrong about their assumptions of Job. They were judging him without knowing what God was doing. We must be careful to avoid making judgements about a person because God may be working in ways we know nothing about.
After receiving much criticism, at God's instruction, Job was still able to pray for his three friends. So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning (Job 42:12).
The main question in the book of Job is timely: Why do believers experience troubles and suffering? Job's supposedly wise friends were unable to answer this question. When trouble and suffering comes our way, it does not mean that God is indifferent, uncaring, unjust, or powerless to protect us. Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world, where both believers and unbelievers are hit with the tragic consequences of sin. God allows evil for a time although He turns it around for our good (Romans 8:28).
We may not have the answers as to why God allows evil, but we can be sure that He is all powerful and knows what He is doing. The next time you face trials and dilemmas, like Job, see them as opportunities to turn to God for strength. For you will always find a God, who, not only desires to show His love and compassion to you, but restoration and help.
If you can trust Him in pain, confusion, and loneliness, you will win the victory and eliminate doubt, one of Satan's footholds in your life.
Throughout his affliction, Job continued to hope in God, and it paid off. I challenge you to make God your foundation; your hope. You can never be separated from Him. Only in trusting God can you like Job, say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15), and watch God bring you out as pure gold.
Author of "The Healing Hand of God"
Only By Faith!
Magic City April 9, 2014
The term, 'seeing is believing' is a well-known saying that most people are accustomed to hear. But I dare pause to say, that this saying does not stand when it relates to things of God; for, because we cannot see something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We've been told that we are surrounded by air and breathe in oxygen without which we cannot survive. We have never seen oxygen, yet, we believe. How much more then should we believe in a God who created us and continues to sustain us?
In "The Healing Hand of God" (listed in the Christian Book Basket April 2nd) Shirley Kirwan aptly compresses her six-month critical illness into a few pages of faith-affirming reading. The book synthesizes the certainty of bible promises with her practical extra-biblical deliverance from the cold arms of death, by God's mighty hand. The authenticity of this personal testimony is corroborated by eyewitness accounts and medical interventions, showing cumulatively, that while her physical heart was at its weakest, her spiritual heart was at its strongest.
"I'm not out to bash skeptics or prove too bold a point, but I'm passionate about sharing my own personal story of being saved at a time when many had already written my life off," says Kirwan. "I can't speak on behalf of others, but my own personal experience is that God will save anyone if they take the time to get close to him. My book will assist people with the goal -- it could just be life-saving."
'The Healing Hand of God' is available for around $16 at