Job 7:1-4 (cev) Why is life so hard? Why do we suffer? (2) We are slaves in search of shade; we are laborers longing for our wages. (3) God has made my days drag on and my nights miserable. (4) I pray for night to end, but it stretches out while I toss and turn.
Faced with sudden tragedy, such as the loss of health, wealth, or a loved one, the natural question to ask is: why? Why did this happen? Why did it happen to me? Why now? Job struggled with the question of "why" as he struggled through his suffering. He couldn't make sense of it.
So did Jesus' disciples when they came upon a man who had been born blind. "Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned? (John 9:1-2).
Job eventually realized the glory and grace of God as a result of his sufferings (Job 42:1-6). That should offer some comfort to the people who face seemingly senseless tragedy. The pain is real and must not be denied. But someday we will see the glory of God, even in the things that we suffer. We have the assurance of Job and Jesus for that!
Max Lucado writes: "When a potter bakes a pot he checks its solidity by pulling it out of the [furnace] and thumping it. If it 'sings,' it's ready. If it 'thuds,' it's put back in. Character is also checked by thumping… Late night phone calls… grouchy teachers… burnt meals… flat tires… 'you've-got-to-be-kidding' deadlines. Thumps trigger the worst in us… They aren't big enough to be a crisis, but if you get enough of them, watch out. Traffic jams… long lines… empty mailboxes… dirty clothes on the floor… Thump. Thump. Thump. How do you respond? Do you sing or do you thud? Jesus said, "People speak the things that are in their hearts" (Luke 6:45 NCV), and there's nothing like a good thump to reveal the true nature of a heart… it's not in momentary heroics, but in the thump-packed humdrum of day-to-day living. If you've a tendency to 'thud' more than you 'sing,' take heart. There's hope for us 'thudders.' Begin by thanking God… not a half-hearted thank-you… but a rejoicing, jumping-for-joy, thank-you from the bottom of your heart. James says: 'Count it all joy when you fall into various trials… the testing of your faith produces patience.' God's doing the thumping… for your own good… You're going to be tested… you might as well learn from the thumps. See it as an opportunity to develop patience and persistence. Each thump helps or hurts you, depending on how you use it. Be aware of 'thump-slumps'… For all of us there are times during the week when we can anticipate an unusual amount of thumping. Handle them head on… bolster yourself with extra prayer… don't give up… and remember no thump is disastrous. All thumps work together for good when you love and obey God."
"Lord, help me to understand that you are my soverign Lord, and you are in complete control of my life as I submit to Your Lordship and authority. I know that there are "thumps" that happen in my life. Like Job, I may ask "why" but also like Job, I want to hang onto my integrity and refuse to sin against you with my words. May I sing when I am thumped! May my heart be full of thanksgiving and praise. You are so faithful to me. When the time comes that I must face difficulties, my hearts prayer is that my heart will truly "SING" and not "thud!" I ask this in Jesus' name, amen!"
Pastor Rusty L. Blann