What is God doing when life takes a turn for the worse? I believe the answer is found in what many scholars believe is the oldest book of the Bible: the book of Job. This book records the story of a man named Job whose life took a turn for the worse. He lost his finances, his children, his health, and his marriage! And it all happened suddenly, one right after the other.
And what was God doing while this happened?
If you look at the first two chapters of Job, you will discover that God was watching Job’s every step, He was in control of Job’s situation, and He had a purpose behind Job’s suffering. What is true for Job is true for you. When life takes a turn for the worse, God is watching your every step. He is in control of the situation and He has a purpose.
I. God Is WATCHING Your Every Step.
‘Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” ‘ Job 1:8’Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” ‘ Job 2:3’But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. ‘ Job 23:10
This tells us that God had his eye on Job and was watching his every step. What is true for Job is true for you. God knows what is going on in your life. He knows when you’re good and when you’re bad and He knows when you’re on the mountain top of life and when you’re in the valleys of life. He is watching your every step.
II. God Is IN CONTROL of Your Situation.
A lot of folks believe that the devil is just as powerful as God. And the two are fighting tooth and nail for control of the universe. But that simply isn’t true. God is in total control. He isn’t fighting for control and He sure isn’t struggling for control. He is in total control.
Look at the following verses:
‘The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord . ‘ Job 1:12’The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” ‘ Job 2:6
Who was in control?
God was in control. The Devil can’t do one single thing without God’s permission. The Devil would love to chew you up and spit you out but He can’t unless God gives Him permission! Don’t ever think that the Devil is in control of your situation. God is the one who is in total control! He either causes or permits everything that happens in your life. Job put it like this . . .
‘He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. ‘ Job 2:10
Knowing that God is in control of your life can give you great comfort, especially when life takes a turn for the worse. Why? Because He promises . . .
‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ‘ Romans 8:28
That verse doesn’t say “Everything that happens to me is good”; it says, “God is working everything together for my good” – and that’s a big difference. I can hear somebody saying, “Wait a second. I don’t understand why God would allow this or that to happen. ” That’s natural. God has unlimited wisdom, we don’t. God sees the big picture, and we don’t. If we just see the big picture God sees, everything He allows would make perfect sense.
Besides, when you were a child, did you ever get a shot? Did you understand why your mom or dad was taking you to the doctor to get a dose of pain? They surely did it because they love you and they want you to get better. God allows things, sometimes painful things, so that you get better.
III. He Has a PURPOSE for Your Suffering.
Look at Job. What was the purpose behind his suffering? God had at least two reasons: to prove Satan wrong and to strengthen Job’s faith. God had a purpose behind Job’s suffering, and the same is true for you.
Don’t ask me what that purpose is because I don’t know. I don’t walk in your shoes, I don’t live your life, so I don’t know. But I can tell you this – God has a plan and a purpose for your life. He has your best interest in mind and your suffering has the potential to work to your benefit. A good example of this is found in Genesis 50:20 when we are reading about the life of Joseph.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers! There, served in Potiphar’s house where he was falsely accused of attempted rape. Thrown into prison, he was far away from his beloved father and his own people. But look at what the word tells us:
‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. ‘ Genesis 50:20
You are like that too!
Like Job, you may never find out what that purpose is until you get to Heaven, but you need to rest assured that God has a purpose for your suffering.
What is God doing when life takes a turn for the worse? He is watching your every step, He is in control of your situation, and He has a purpose for your suffering. And the best thing you can is trust God, hold on, and don’t let go.
What about you? I hope the Spirit of God has spoken to your heart this morning. I hope He has shown you that God deserves your faith when life is going good and when life is going bad. And I hope that you will, right now, make a commitment to trust God through the good times and the bad.
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