This has been a long road of suffering, I have been through a lot, the devastating loss of a child, life-threatening health issues, bad news after bad news. A familiar story of a faithful servant Job comes to mind, and reminds me that my struggles werent so bad and my journey through it not near as graceful as Job.
I have been reading a devotional book on Job and though i wish i read it earlier, it is still helpful to me and may be to some of you of there too.
"Job was a man who lived in Uz. He was honest inside and out, a man of his word, who was totally devoted to God and hated evil with a passion. He had seven sons and three daughters. He was also very wealthy—seven thousand head of sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred teams of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and a huge staff of servants—the most influential man in all the East!" Job 1:1-3 The Message
"Sometime later, while Job's children were having one of their parties at the home of the oldest son, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing in the field next to us when Sabeans attacked. They stole the animals and killed the field hands. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened."
While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Bolts of lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and fried them—burned them to a crisp. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened." While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Chaldeans coming from three directions raided the camels and massacred the camel drivers. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened."
While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Your children were having a party at the home of the oldest brother when a tornado swept in off the desert and struck the house. It collapsed on the young people and they died. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened." Job 1:15-19 The Message
I cant possibly imagine, in one day every single nightmare exploded into reality and hit him like a ton of bricks. All at once, Job's family and fortune was swept away. His job, his employees, his property, his income, his retirement and everything he worked so hard for...gone.
I know the pain of losing a child but can not fathom the agony of losing ten, all at once.
I often question God and why he would allow this to happen to one of His most faithful servants? Why didn't He protect Job? What was He thinking?
What I learned was that God had this whole journey of sorrow planned out for Job (and me) birthed out of an intriguing conversation He had with God.
"God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Job? There's no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil."
Satan retorted, "So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can't lose!
"But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He'd curse you right to your face, that's what."
God replied, "We'll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don't hurt him." Then Satan left the presence of God. " Job 1:8-12 The Message
The part that encourages me is how Job responded to all of this
" Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped: Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I'll return to the womb of the earth.God gives, God takes. God's name be ever blessed.
Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God." Job 1-20-22
Yeah Job!! Well done! Crushed, broken and aching, Job STILL worshiped God.
Yeah God! Satan lost, God won!
So he just won the battle, he responded by worshiping God even through all his losses. Then Satan gears up for round two... health issues...sounding familiar? (although my response far less graceful)
"Then God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Job? There's no one quite like him, is there—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil? He still has a firm grip on his integrity! You tried to trick me into destroying him, but it didn't work."
Satan answered, "A human would do anything to save his life. But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away his health? He'd curse you to your face, that's what."
God said, "All right. Go ahead—you can do what you like with him. But mind you, don't kill him." Job 2- 3-6 The Message
Job's response to part 2:
His wife said, "Still holding on to your precious integrity, are you? Curse God and be done with it!"
He told her, "You're talking like an empty-headed fool. We take the good days from God—why not also the bad days?"
Not once through all this did Job sin. He said nothing against God." Job 2:9-10 The Message
Job STILL worshiped God! Job lost everything but refused to give up. God was worth it!
Yeah Job again, Satan lost again. God won again, and Satan was shut up!
There are forty more chapters in the book of Job and do you know how many times Satan was mentioned after the first to chapters?? NONE!!! ZIP!!! ZERO!!
Satan was defeated, I love it!!
Being reminded of this makes me think, have I won? Am I finally victorious? Did I beat Satan? Will he leave me alone now?
I hope and pray that this is it, but if not it will be my goal to praise him in the storm, to fight the good fight and keep the faith!! Just like Job.