If you’ve been reading the excerpts from my book, Why? Answers to Weather the Storms of Life, you know that my greatest trial has been cancer.
Your trial may be something different — the loss of a loved one, a child who has turned away from God, or overwhelming financial difficulties. Whatever it is, you can know that you’re not alone.
Everyone faces trials. More than anyone, Job faced trials.
In today’s excerpt, you’ll read about how you can take comfort in the knowledge that God is in control of your situation, just like He was in control of Job’s situation. There’s no greater consolation than knowing your Father has you in the palm of His hand, even in the middle of a storm.
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The fact is that no one is exempt from problems. I believe there are three types of people:
Those facing problems now.
Those who have just faced problems.
Those about to face problems.
The question is not “if” we will fall into a trial but rather “when.” Problems are only a phone call or an X-ray away. Difficulties in life are a given. They always have been.
In the 1st century, members of the fledgling Christian church experienced persecution that is almost mind-boggling. In his letters to them, James, one of the fathers of the early church, didn’t waste any time getting right to the tough but very relevant issue for the times — trials. He was writing to a group of people who were well-acquainted with personal pain. Many of them had already faced severe trials, losing their homes, their jobs, and their security. In fact, these believers had to literally flee Jerusalem for their own safety!
The truth is that the enemy of our soul is always challenging us and putting our faith to the test. Life’s storms give us the opportunity to examine and prove our beliefs — both to ourselves and to the world.
Job is the biblical poster child for tragedy and triumph. He lost everything there was to lose, except for his life! All his livestock, property, his servants, his children, and his health were destroyed.
Was he being punished? No. God Himself declared Job as “blameless and upright.” So why was Job, God’s faithful servant, taken from great wealth and success to the depths of torment? It was a series of tests instigated by Satan.
Satan wanted to prove that Job was a sinner who only believed for what he could get out of it. God, on the other hand, had faith in the sincerity of Job’s righteousness. God didn’t allow the dark storms to see Job fail … He allowed them to let Job shine!
And Job did not disappoint. Through his stormy situation, Job’s faith was strengthened, he learned about his own character, and he grew closer to God. And in the end, God restored all that Job had lost and more.
Job had no idea why he was going through tragedy; he just trusted that God was in control. There was a greater spiritual purpose behind his pain. Not all trials are like Job’s … there are different kinds with different purposes and reasons.
In my burning desire to find out why life’s storms come our way, I studied the different types of emotional and physical battles.
Guess what I learned? Sometimes, it’s our own fault. Really! We reap what we sow; that’s just the way life works. God has promised to forgive our sins, but we still have to face the consequences of our actions. Many of the stormy whirlwinds that come into our lives come as a result of our own disobedience, bad habits, or actions.
But not every trial is a result of our own decisions. Spiritual trials come from simply living a godly life. If you are a true disciple of Christ, you will be out of step with society. Jesus was persecuted, so it shouldn’t be surprising when we are, too.
The amazing truth of this statement became more vivid to me shortly after my hand surgery. I did not leave the house for an entire month, except to go to the doctor. I was afraid someone would see me. So I found myself home alone on Easter Sunday, feeling sorry for myself.
In the midst of my wallowing, I suddenly realized, “Wait a minute — Jesus had a wound in His hand, and I have a wound in my hand. Jesus had a wound in His side, and I have a wound in my side.”
What a clear picture! That Easter, home alone with my hand sewn to my side and two open wounds, I prayed, “God, thank you that this Easter, in a very small way, I can identify with the suffering that Jesus went through. Thank you for allowing me to identify with Christ.”
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Whatever you’re going through, God has a purpose for it. It may be to teach you a lesson about Himself or to allow you to demonstrate the power of a strong faith to those around you.
I don’t know all the answers … but I serve a God who does. My hope is that Why? will point you to Him and the answers you are looking for. Get your copy today for just $8.99.