Ponderings for this Day ~
If you live long enough, you will encounter bad times. It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are, what country you live in, or what cultural or ethnic background you come from, you will face trouble in this life ….
In (John 16:33), Jesus tells His disciples, “In this world, you will have trouble.” So, it is not a question of “if” you will go through bad times — but “when” you will go through bad times …..
It has been a very painful time in my own life, so that the Lord directed me to read the book of Job. Through Job, who probably had the most tragic day in the life of any one person in all of history, the Lord showed me how to use the painful circumstances of life for His glory …..
It is my prayer that the Lord will use the lessons He taught me to encourage your heart and strengthen your walk with Him when bad times come into your life …..
1). When bad times come — worship God ….
(Job 1:20-21), “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.’”
When Job learned that he had lost all that he owned and that all of his ten children were dead, he prostrated himself before God and worshiped Him. Even through his grief and mourning, Job realized that everything that he had, including his children, had been given to him by God and that God could take them back any time that He so desired. Job had the right heart attitude and that attitude was one of reverence and worship for the Giver of all things, in spite of his circumstance ….
2). When bad times come — don’t blame God …..
(Job 1:22), “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.”
This is a really convicting verse. How many times in our own lives do we look for someone or something to blame whenever difficult circumstances come our way? Job didn’t look at this as an opportunity to point a finger at God. Instead, he uses this as another opportunity; to bless the name of the Lord ….
3). When bad times come — maintain your integrity ….
(Job 2:3), “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause.’”
Job could have just as easily used his bad times as a reason to justify turning away from God and turning toward sin. But he didn’t. He continued to fear God and to turn away from what was evil in His sight. Job did what was right. Though his heart had to be breaking from his grief, he maintained his integrity with God and with those around him ….
4). When bad times come — maintain your Christian witness ….
(Job 2:9-10), “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
God really showed me three principles in these verses and they are: maintain your integrity, maintain your Christian witness and trust God. In these verses, Job has had another bad time in his life. God allows Satan to smite Job with “sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (verse 7).
So, at this point, not only has Job lost all that he possessed and all of his children, he now loses his own health. But Job does not let his circumstance turn him against God and lose his Christian witness. He realizes that God is not a cosmic genie that is out there just to grant our every wish and whim. God allows the good in our lives as well as the adversity and Job willingly accepts both from Him …..
5.) When bad times come –seek the presence of God through prayer
(Job 5:7-8), “For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward. But as for me, I would seek God, and I would place my cause before God.”
In Chapters 4 and 5, Job’s friend Eliphaz wrongly laments about how Job’s suffering was a result of sin in his life, but one thing that he is right about is that when bad times come, we need to seek the presence of God through prayer. Speak to the Lord from your heart about what you are going through. Pray that He would give you the comfort that you will need during your times of trial and pray for His strength to endure the trial. Pour out your tears and your feelings to Him. We should be on our knees before God whether times are good or bad, but when bad times come, it is especially important to stay in the presence of the Lord. This is what will help you through the bad times
6.) When bad times come — trust God ….
(Job 13:15), “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him…”
Job knew that his life was in God’s hands and in spite of everything that had happened to him, he chose to continue to trust in the Lord. He didn’t understand what was going on and he didn’t know why he was suffering. Oftentimes, God does not tell us why we are going through bad times. I believe that knowing why is not as important as trusting the Sovereign One who is in control of the situation.
All he knew was that He could trust God. Trusting God is not easy to do when we are going through bad times, but it is essential to maintaining a growing and vibrant walk with the Lord. If we can’t trust God during the bad times in life, then who can we trust???
7). When bad times come — wait on the Lord ….
(Job 14:14), “…All the days of my struggle I will wait, until my change comes.”
Job was suffering excruciating pain from the boils that covered his body. He didn’t know whether or not he would live or die, but either way he was willing to wait on the Lord. He knew that the Lord could do all things and that His purposes would not be thwarted (42:2).
When bad times come, don’t take matters into your own hands, but place them in the hand of God and wait on Him until your change comes …..
8). When bad times come — keep your faith in God ….
(Job 19:25,) “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.”
Even while Job’s “friends” Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad are adding to his suffering by concluding that he has committed some terrible sin and telling him that he needs to repent, Job still continues to keep his hope and faith in God. Yes, Job does question God and he does struggle in his faith during his time of intense trial, but he never loses faith in his Redeemer. The same God who “laid the foundation of the earth” (38:4), “enclosed the sea with doors” (38:8), and “caused the dawn to know its place” (38:12) is the same God that was with Job and helped him to persevere through all of his trials …
9). When bad times come — remain faithful to God ….
(Job 23:10-11), “But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside.”
To have faith in God is to remain faithful to Him, especially during the bad times in life. It is easy to remain faithful to God when things are going well in life but the real test of our faithfulness to Him is during our trials and sufferings. Job remains faithful to the Almighty God through what was probably the worse trial he ever had in his life ..
10). When bad times come — be in the word of God …..
(Job 23:12,) “I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
Other than seeking the presence of God in prayer, this is the most important of all the things that the Lord showed me in the book of Job. Just as not eating food for a long period of time will make a person weak, not spending time daily in the Word of God will make a Christian weak. It weakens your worship of God, your integrity, your trust, your faith in God and your faithfulness to God.
Job knew the importance of staying in the word of God. Not only that, he treasured God’s word(s). This reminded me of (Psalm 119:11) where David says, “Thy word I have treasured [hidden] in my heart that I may not sin against thee.”
Remembering what the word of God says during a trial can bring great comfort and hope to those who are suffering. The Word of God is our necessary food. Being in the word of God is vital to our walk with God, especially when bad times come ….
Father, although we may never go through the trials and suffering of Job, give us a heart that is willing to go through that kind of intense trial if it means that we will have a closer walk with You. As Christians, we know that it is appointed to us to suffer for Christ’s sake. Father, being honest, we may be scared and we may question You when the time comes for us to suffer, but give us the worship, the integrity, the trust, the faith and the faithfulness that we will need to overcome our fears when bad times come into our lives. Thank You for being there with us during our trials and comforting us with Your love. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen…..