The Rewards of Handling Trials Well

The book of Job is about reward, redemption, and double blessings born from our trials. God shows us how to face trials in a way where we get beauty for our ashes and rewards for our pain. The story delivers the powerful message that there are rewards in how we respond to suffering. No one is 100% sure why bad things happen. We cannot fit the infinite and the spiritual into finite reasoning, but God helps us make it through the “I don’t know why” times. It’s apparent in this book how God hates us to judge or assume another’s sin is the reason for their suffering. It may not be a lack of faith or hidden sin, and if we don’t know for sure, he doesn’t want us to judge. Job was a victim of it all, he was honest with his not-so-perfect feelings and he was judged for it, but he dealt with grace and God rewarded him richly.

“…there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.”

Job 1:8

In One Day

On the earth, people have free will to choose how we behave. Sin is the culprit of suffering and damage. Job was an influential millionaire with lots of assets and income streams, but he had a reputation as a good man. He also had seven sons and three daughters who he loved devotedly. What was special about Job was that he was blameless, honest, and feared God even though he could have done anything with little consequence. Jesus said that it’s more difficult for a rich man to get salvation than a camel to go through the eye of a needle, but Job was both. One day, one messenger after another came to him delivering devastating news. His wealth was wiped out, total bankruptcy, and every means of making money was gone. Secondly, all of his sons and daughters were killed at once. It broke him. Have you ever had one terrible thing happen after another and thought, “I can’t take one more thing.” Job’s response to these events was as unique as him.

 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job 1:20-21

Sounds Strange

The responses in verses 20-22 are weird if you look at them with a modern mindset. In ancient times, when he lived, his behavior in verse 20 was normal and expected. However, what he said in verse 21 is not normal in any time period. I believe that he with the habit and discipline of thinking about life from a healthy perspective. Sometimes it takes a tragedy for us to know what’s important. Job lived that way. “The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be his name” is definitely another step of faith, a Job faith. The more difficulties you trust God with, the easier you can adopt that way of thinking. You have the assurance that even if things don’t work out the way you want them to, God can make it right even though it hurts.

“I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer?

Job 16:1-3

With Friends Like That…

Have you been at your lowest, desperately trying to stay afloat, and when it appeared someone was offering a helping hand, it was a pointing finger? It’s happened to me. Job’s friends supposedly sat in silent prayer with him for 7 days. I thought, wow, what great friends until they finally did speak; it was riddled with judgment, and that told me that their silent time wasn’t humbly praying. Job was honest, and he was too ripped up to put up a front; he said he was hurting and devastated. His friends responded with statements like, “You must have brought this on yourself, you need to repent, you deserve worse than what’s happening, you haveta be doing something wrong, or this wouldn’t have happened to you.” It was literally adding insult to injury. Job even told them they were a bunch of windbags and miserable comforters.

7 After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 Now, therefore, take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”

Job 42:7-8

Humble Pie & Big Blessings

The chapters of abuse go on, with Job trying to futilely defend himself to his friends, reasoning with God, and being upset as well. God answered Job with a humbling dose of truth. Job’s response was essentially, “Forgive me for not believing you,” and then God turned to the friends and gave them some heaping handfuls of humble pie. He even required them to repent to Job with sacrifices and to ask Job to pray for their forgiveness for their abhorrent treatment of him. Once Job prayed for his friends, all of his blessings were not just restored but doubled. He had 7 more sons and 3 more daughters (the daughters were the prettiest in the land, a big deal back then), and God not only restores Job’s fortunes and revenue streams but blessed him so that he was way better off than he was before.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons (and daughters) of your Father who is in heaven…

Matthes 5:44-45

Opened Up For Blessings

Something incredible happened to Job’s life once he prayed for his friends. Many years ago I was very hurt by someone who I served under in church. When church leadership discovered what she was doing, they were upset. She brought the proverbial offering by asking forgiveness. I forgave her, but I felt that God wanted me to take it one step further, to pray for her prosperity and success. It was pure torture; I prayed through gritted teeth until my jaw hurt for months. I didn’t want her to be more successful or powerful. I did it in obedience, and within a few months, I could pray without resentment. (Yes, it took months) It wasn’t long after that God blessed our family more than I could ever imagine. Pushing through and obeying God’s word opened me up for my next set of blessings. Job got to live to see four more generations of children and see that his great, great-great-grandkids.

10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 12 And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. 16 And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. 17 And Job died, an old man, and full of days.

Job 42:10,12,16,17

And his “great, great, great granddaughter is doing fine….” Jonas Brothers

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