Thursday, November 4, 2010

Times of Trials.

I know I haven’t had a deep heart-to-heart with you all in a while, so maybe this will be a welcomed break from my silly adventures and fashion advice. It’s been weighing on my mind recently about ‘times of trial’. Now if you aren’t a church goer or a bible reader, this may be a term that doesn’t register with regularity for you but we Christians call the tough times or choppy waters, times of trials pretty frequently as taken from Psalms 46:1 which describes the Lord as an ever-present help in times of trouble (or trial). A comforting verse for those of us who believe. Ever-present is a great way to describe it, don’t you think? I love Psalms.

It seems as of late that I know so many people who are going through times of trouble. From dealing with cancer, to marriage issues, to divorces, infidelity, sickness, unemployment, foreclosure, etc. I’m intrigued by how people handle these times. Some with grace, others with anger or resentment. Some by shutting out the people they love, others with increased prayer or time dedicated to serving. Some people avoid the problems while people like myself like to face problems head on. We all have our way of handling tough times.

I’m not an expert so I won’t tell you the right way to handle these times, if there even is one right way (as opposed to many). When I’m going through these times, as this week has been a pretty rough one for me, I like to read back and think about Job. Job is kind of my spiritual super hero if you will. I have a million ‘favorite’ bible stories or characters, but Job, Job is on a whole different level for me. For those of you who don’t know his story Job was an incredibly successful man. He had a big, beautiful family – property, money, livestock, the whole shebang. But the devil challenged the Lord and said if God would let the devil take these things from him, surely Job would desert his faith.

I’ve wondered a few times if the devils ever asks the Lord something of that nature about me. That Becca Christensen, she’s weak – if you let me take her massive stash of Coach purses and her favorite pair of Michel Kors jeans – she’d curse you. Do you ever think things like this? I wonder sometimes if Satan is just itching to make it hard to be to hang on to my joy.
Anyway, the Lord allowed Satan to take away everything Job had. He lost everything. Including his family. Now this is where this story really grips my heart. While I think I could lose my home, my belongings, my job, etc…when it gets to the part about his family it really breaks my heart. I think about losing any member of even my extended family and I cringe but to lose my whole immediate family, I can’t even bare the idea. I shudder at the thought.

So here I wonder, if the Lord took my family would I remember that they were his to begin with? The honest truth is, I’m not sure. I would certainly have to do some internal battling. I can think of no greater loss.
This is why Job is my super hero. In Job 2 he says (after his wife tells him to curse the Lord and die) – ‘shall we accept good from the Lord and not evil’? And the chapter goes on to say that Job didn’t sin with his words. Meaning, he didn’t say the million horrible things I’m pretty sure would have flown through my mind at that moment.

But maybe most surprisingly of all is when Job says, ‘the Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord’. I supposed if I really saw all that I have been given, including my precious family as a gift from the Lord then I would know if and when he takes them, they were always his to take. What would my praise look like?

I’ve been battling through some of these as I consider each situation my friends are going through and even the ones I’ve endured during this crazy week. But in a sermon recently my pastor was talking about God’s response to some of Job’s questions later on in the book of Job (questions I think most of us would ask) and I’m in awe from his responses…

From Chapter 38:

2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

Where was I indeed? I encourage you to read the whole Chapter, it’s intense. But what I take away from this is – the Lord’s plans are so much bigger than I can fathom. In my simple mind, so many things are without reason or excuse but the Lord in his infinite wisdom is always working things together for good and who am I to question the ways in which he works?

Here’s the good part…we already know how it ends. That while there is sin, death, and just plain crappy weeks in the world – victory is the Lords. We know how it ends. We know who wins. And if you’re on the right team, what’s to fear or worry about? That my friends, is good news.


1 comment:

~MinniLinny~ said...

Wow - this is exactly what i needed to read this morning! I love the last two paragraphs the most. It's so hard to remind ourselves that we're not in charge and that God does have a plan...and it's usually better than ours. Thanks for posting this!!