The times that you and I live in are indeed quite perplexing. “Distress of nations with perplexity” could be the front page headline of any paper on any newsstand. The “ripple effect” of sin has affected our planet’s morals and economy as well. These days are indeed trying ones.
Many believers, to some degree, are battling this flood of iniquity; whether it be a personal struggle, a marital valley, loss of health, financial woes, etc. These storms of life hit us all. None are exempt. It is very important how we react in the midst of our storms.
Job, we are told, is an example of patience during the hardships of life. Likewise, Scripture tells us that “the end of the Lord is that He is very pitiful and of tender mercy.” If you need a refresher course on Job’s hardships, read the first two chapters of the book that bears his name.
A few things are amazing to me about this man of faith. Yes, like each one of us, he too had his bouts with despair and asked himself the “Why, God” questions. Yet, how different was Job’s response to his wife’s question and challenge. When their whole life “went down the tubes”, Mrs. Job said: “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” In contrast to his emotions, Job recognized the sovereignty of God in both giving and taking and, though in sorrow, worshipped God.
In chapter 9, Job asks an interesting question: “Who has hardened against Him and prospered?” “American-made” Christianity is very soft. If we are painfully honest, we must admit that many of us are “fair weather” believers. When the wind of God’s blessing is blowing in our direction we are full of song and understanding, and full of faith. However, when the direction changes and the storm clouds are upon us, we become edgy, harsh, and usually full of anxiety.
Let me tell you something. We may not like the cup that we are drinking today, but one thing we absolutely cannot afford to do is harden our hearts against God. Mark it well, the person that hardens his heart towards God is softening his heart towards rebellion. Though it’s easy to praise Jesus when all is well, and equally easy to “get mad at God” when things aren’t so well, may we learn to “offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.” (Heb 13:15)
Afflicted? Merry? Sick? Whether abased or abounding, remember the price for hardening your heart is far more expensive than the cost of absolute surrender to Christ.