Yesterday, we had speaker Phil Callaway come to our church to speak. Phil was talking about the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness, while it is a feeling of elation, is fleeting. Joy in the lord lasts beyond where the happiness feelings would wane.
I kept thinking of our readings over the last while about Job. I'm quite certain that Job was happy with his life and the blessings and riches that he had before God allowed Satan to take everything away. Job's feelings of happiness, no doubt, changed when that horrible day came and every worldly possession was ripped away in one series of messages after another. His feelings of happiness also changed when God allowed Satan to attack his body. Job was no longer happy with his circumstances but in all of his circumstances Job did not lose his joy.
He did not understand why things were happening but he did understand that God knew what he was doing. Job had wisdom beyond what he could understand.
Job knew. He knew that God had something much bigger in mind. Bigger than Job himself could imagine. Did Job know that his story would earn him a special place in the Bible and it would be an inspiration to all who are suffering through big things? Did Job know his story would live on? Did Job know that God chose him? Even though Job may not have known these things, Job trusted that God did.
Phil Callaway spoke today about suffering. He has suffered the loss of 4 close friends and family over the last year. It may not have been all in one day as Job suffered, but it still seemed overwhelming to Phil and his family. Phil shared some of the trite comments that people spoke to him to "help" him with the losses. Much like Job's friends after that first week, their responses were not helpful and not a comfort.
One of the responses Phil heard during his time of suffering and loss was that "God would never give him more than he could bear" and Phil was adamant that this was not true. In fact it was a misquoting of scripture from today's NT readings:
God promises we will never be tempted beyond what we can bear but God never promises that we will not suffer beyond what we can bear. Suffering and loss is inevitable in this world. We will face loss. We will suffer. However, God does promise this:
May we recognize God's wisdom in all circumstances so that we even when we don't understand what God is doing we can have the peace of knowing that God does.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Job 30-31; 1 Corinthians 10:19-33