Today, I present guest blogger and extraordinary young man, Zak Schmoll. Zak is blogging his way through the Bible one chapter at a time, and he offered to share his stretch thoughts while I’m on vacation this week. For more about Zak, check out his bio at the end of the post. In the meantime, enjoy!
How To Respond When You Are Stretched To The Limit
I think that Jon’s blog title pretty much sums up the life of one of my favorite biblical characters, and that is why I decided to send this guest post into him.
Job was certainly a man who was stretched to the limit.
Of course, most of us know the story. He was a wealthy man with a great family. He was very successful by the standards of the world, and he was a man who followed after God.
You might say, “It was pretty easy for him to follow God. After all, look at how good he had it. It is easy to follow God when life is going good.” In fact, that is pretty much what Satan said in Job 1:9-10.
God obviously was not intimidated or worried. He told Satan that he could do whatever he wanted to Job besides killing him. It doesn’t seem like it took Satan very long to start trying to knock away all of the things that he thought made Job want to follow God. His land was overrun, his children died and his entire source of income (his crops) went away. His wife thought he was pretty much crazy, and he was virtually left all alone outside of his friends who didn’t think any more of him than his wife did.
I would say he was pretty much stretched to his limits.
However, there are a few important things to remember in this situation. I think these points can apply when we feel like we are being pushed to the limit as well.
- God was always right there. In the beginning of the book, we know that God allowed this to happen. It is hard to understand why, and I cannot say that I have a perfect answer. However, I can say that Job was not abandoned. In fact, an interesting proof of this comes from the fact that God told Satan that he was not allowed to kill Job. The final verse of the book has Job dying long after that period of tribulation ended. It all happened in God’s time. He truly held his life in His hands. God never stopped caring or watching the situation even if we don’t understand His actions or lack thereof.
- Job understood what was important. He did not sin in this entire process according to Job 1:22. It doesn’t mean that he did not question God, and it certainly does not mean that he was not upset over the loss of everything. He never lost perspective on the fact that God was ultimately in control. In Job 1:21 he came out and said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.” This is a point that people like to slam Christianity on. They always say how it is impossible for a loving God to allow terrible things that happen. Job may not have understood what God was doing, and we might not understand why he allowed all of these problems, but what we do know is that God is good. Job also knew that. That is important.
- Finally, we know that Job’s friends spent most of the book trying to question him. Like the people I mentioned in the previous point, they didn’t understand what God was doing. Job was not pressured by his friends though. He remained faithful, and he persevered. This is why we hear about Job all the way in the book of James. We remember him for his perseverance, and that is a trait that we all need to develop at some point.
Job was a man who was stretched to the limit. He had everything taken away from him, and he was pretty much scorned by his friends. He could have easily given up and denied the existence of God. After all, if there was truly a powerful God, why on earth was he allowing all this stuff to happen?
However, he persevered, and I believe that he is one of the best models of how to live for God in tough times. We might question, and we might ask God why. However, I think that we can learn a lot about living like Job when we are pushed to the edge.
Question to ponder:
Why does God allow hard times to come into our lives?
Zak Schmoll just graduated from the University of Vermont with a double major in Accounting and Statistics. On July 23, 2012, he went on a mission to write about one chapter of the Bible every day from start to finish. You can follow his progress at http://achapterperday.wordpress.com/.