Hard Times (Aug 21)

HardTimes2

Aug 21
Hard Times

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 90:11-17 | Job 1:1 – 3:26 | 1 Corinthians 14:1-17 | Proverbs 21:25-26

Today’s Scripture Focus: 
Job 1-3

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21, NIV).

Bad things do happen to good people. Job is a perfect case in point. He was a blameless and upright man who feared God and shunned evil. Scrupulous about sin, he tried hard to follow God. God had blessed him with a great family. He lived comfortably and well. Then one day he lost it all.

Similar things happen everyday. People who seem to be living well, feeling secure, find themselves dealing with unimaginable tragedy. It all seems so unfair; a point that this book seems quite willing to concede.

How do we handle unimaginable tragedy? What do we do when our worst nightmares come true? This is the stuff that Job had to deal with. This is the stuff that this book deals with.

Some would like to follow Job’s wife’s advice: “Curse God and die.” When things get this bad, it may not seem like a crazy option at all. But Job would have nothing to do with her advice. He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (2:10).

Instead of following conventional wisdom, Job fell down to the ground and worshiped God: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (1:21).

That doesn’t mean he didn’t struggle. That didn’t mean he didn’t have questions. That didn’t mean he didn’t cry and lament the loss. He certainly did. He struggled, a lot. His friends try to comfort him with weak advice and empty clichés. They didn’t help.

If the book didn’t already raise enough questions, God shows up and asks Job a bunch of his own. In the end, the book gives no easy answers. Are there any? But it does demonstrate the struggles, the questions and the ultimate perseverance of a man of faith. A man who demonstrates how to open one’s heart to God in the midst of the worst this life has to offer.

Father, when life seems unfair help me to fall to the ground and worship you, May I reject the voices of those who say to curse you. May I not be too disturbed by the empty cliches of friends. Help me not to lose hope in spite of the questions, the doubts, the fears. Help me to press forward in persevering faith. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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