There will be times in all of our lives when life doesn’t make sense. It may be because of sickness or some tragedy. It may be the loss of a relationship or watching a child walk away from the Lord. It may be because of someone else’s sin or just our circumstances, but there are times when life is hard and confusing. If we’re not in one of those difficult times, what can we do now to be ready when they come?
Job 9 & 10
When Life is Hard & Confusing
Preparing for the Hard Times
In these two chapters Job responds to his friend Bildad. He’s confused because he holds to the same basic belief as his friends—that all troubles come as a direct result of one’s own sin. So, while he knows he’s not sinless, he struggles to understand how he deserves the degree of suffering he’s enduring.
But he holds on to the truths he does understand. In verse 32 speaking of God, he says:
“He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court.”
He understands that he and God are not equals, that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are far above our thoughts (Is. 55.8-9).
Understanding that truth helped Job and can help us accept things in our lives that we don’t understand. And there will be things this side of heaven which don’t seem fair, things for which God has a higher and a bigger purpose than we know.
A pastor I know went through a dark depression years ago when his son walked away from the Lord. He said anything he had called depression before that time didn’t even come close. While he still believed the truths he had taught for many years, including the reality of God’s goodness and sovereignty, the darkness continued.
But he was able to hold on to one truth and it sustained him through that dark time. He saw himself like one of those cartoon characters who runs over a cliff and manages to grab onto one little branch. That branch was John 6.66-69:
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
In spite of his feelings to the contrary, he knew that Christ was who He said He was and there was nowhere else for him to go. So he held on and God brought him through. He was able to believe because he had filled his heart and mind with God’s Word long before. Isaiah 55.11-12 says that God’s Word does not return void:
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
While we may not experience the kind of suffering Job experienced or the kind of depression that pastor did, we will all go through dark and difficult times.
What are you filling your heart and mind with now? Is it the bread of life which has the power to sustain you or is it something with no eternal value? If you’re primarily feeding on man’s wisdom or, worse yet, worthless entertainment, what will you have to hold on to when you need it?
Today’s Other Readings:
God’s Word is Truth
I sometimes hear people say, “Well, I just believe …,” followed by some theory they have about life and the way they think the universe should be run. They don’t understand that His Word is. It is. He is the Creator. He is the Potter. He gets to make the rules.
It is truth. It’s not up for debate. The Omniscient One, He who knows all things, declares only what is true. He is truth and He can declare nothing less. The psalmist says that God’s Word is “very sure.” You can bank on it. You can stand on it. You can build your life on it. It is sure! Praise be to our God!
Defender of the Poor and Needy
“Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the LORD will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them.”
It is true that those who are rich sometimes have the ability to exploit the poor. They have greater means when there is a dispute between them. They can hire the better lawyer. They may determine whether a poor man keeps his job or hold something else over his head. But when they do so, unfairly or selfishly, they do so at their own peril! Because God is ultimately the defender of those who cannot defend themselves! He is the best attorney you can have and also the ultimate judge of all the affairs of men!
He is the Potter
Verse 20-21, “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”
This sums up all of our reading today. The Apostle Paul said much the same thing as Job did when he asked the hypothetical question, “Who are you to reply against God?”
He goes on to speak of the potter and the clay. Again God is “the Potter.” We are the clay. He gets to decide how our lives are formed and has His divine purposes in it all.
But above all of this, we need to remember that God is not only Truth, not only All Knowing, not only all powerful, not only the Creator, not only the One who gets to make the rules, but He is love. It is His very nature and He has chosen to love us—so much so that He was willing to die in our place and to take the punishment we deserved. So we can trust that His righteous judgments, His decisions, His answers to our prayers, even the difficulties He allows in our lives, are for our good, as well as, His glory!
I believe reading good, biblically sounds books is one key to Christian growth, so I do my best to recommend those I believe can be helpful to you.
Jerry Bridges book Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts is one that has helped many. It was written in a effort to strengthen his own trust in God during a time of adversity, and the revelations changed his life. Also available: Trusting God Discussion Guide and Kindle Edition.
You can also shop for other books & resources.
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