If God is good and He loves us. then why are good and even godly people suffering right now with this Coronavirus called COVID-19? I started a new series last week based on the book of Job. Even though the book of Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible, it is still very relevant for today. In fact, it will always be relevant as long as there is suffering in the world. Suffering like we have seen recently with the COVID-19 virus pandemic. You see, this book tackles one of life’s toughest subjects: Why does a loving God allow good people to suffer?
Are You Ready?
They say, “There are only two things that are certain: death and taxes.” I submit there are three: death, taxes, and suffering. Sooner or later life will take a turn for the worse and it will shatter your world and shake your faith. And you need to be ready.
That’s why I want to spend this time in Job. This book records the suffering of a good man and how it stretched his faith. I believe it contains several important lessons about life that we need to hear and understand. I’m calling this series, “When Life Takes a Turn for the Worse.” And the best way to start off is by asking “Are good people exempt from suffering?
The answer is obvious. No, good people ARE NOT exempt from suffering. I ask this question because we tend to forget that knowing and following Jesus doesn’t exclude us from the troubles and trials of life. Our reasoning goes something like this: God is in control (Right?) (Right! ), He blesses those who trust and obey (Right?) (Right!), therefore nothing bad will ever happen to me if I trust and obey God (Right?) (Wrong!)
Let’s think about a good man whose life took a turn for the worse. He lived several thousand years ago and his record is found in the oldest book of the Bible: the book of Job. The first two chapters reveal three facts about his life.
I. The Devotion Job Had.
Chapter 1 begins by telling us that he was DEVOTED TO GOD. Verse 1 says that he was “blameless”
‘In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. ‘ Job 1:1
(well-balanced, a good relationship with his God, his neighbors, and his family), “upright” (treated others right), “feared God” (treated God with respect), “shunned evil” (consistently avoided that which is wrong). That’s a good example for us to follow! Our lives should be characterized by the same qualities! So Job was devoted to God and . . .
He was DEVOTED TO HIS FAMILY.
Verse 2 tells us he had 7 sons and 3 daughters.
‘He had seven sons and three daughters, ‘ Job 1:2
Verse 3 tells us that he was more than able to support and take care of his family.
‘and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. ‘ Job 1:3
And verses 4 and 5 tell us that he was even concerned about their relationship with God – he made sure they were right with Him.
‘His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom. ‘ Job 1:4-5
This is another good example for us to follow! God help us to treat our family the way Job treated his! He was devoted to God and He was devoted to his family. Wouldn’t you like to have him for a friend? Wouldn’t it be great if he was a member of our church and you had him for a SS teacher? He has his life together! He’s walking the straight and narrow! He’s setting a good example! And if anyone should be exempt from suffering, it should be Job! But that isn’t the case. Chapter 1 reveals the Devotion Job Had, then it describes the disaster that Job experienced.
II. The Disasters Job Experienced.
Verse 6 takes us to Heaven where God is meeting with a group of Angels and Satan is with them (verses 6-12).
‘One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord , and Satan also came with them. ‘ Job 1:6
Disaster strikes and Job loses his finances and his children (vs. 13-19).
‘One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said,
“The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” ‘ Job 1:13-19
How does Job respond?
‘In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship ‘ Job 1:20-22
WOW! So far, he’s taking it a lot better than I would. But as the old saying goes, “When it rains it pours.” That’s what Job is experiencing.
In chapter 2, the Devil invited himself to another meeting in Heaven (vs. 1-6). And verse 7 says:
‘So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. ‘ Job 2:7
Disaster strikes a third time and Job loses his health. In verse 8, his wife is so upset and angry that she wishes he would go ahead and die. Now, picture Job in your mind. He has lost his finances, his children, his health, and his marriage. He’s grieving over the death of his kids. And his body is covered with painful sores. That’s a sad picture isn’t it?
Can You Relate?
I wonder, can you relate to just a little bit of what he’s going through? Some of you know what it’s like to lose your finances and not be able to support your family. Some of you know what it’s like to suddenly lose a loved one and some of you know what it’s like to lose your health. And some of you know what’s it like to lose your marriage. Most of you can relate just a little bit to Job. And the rest of you will be able to relate on down the road – because no one is exempt from the trials and troubles of life: Everybody hurts. Everybody hurts, grieves, and suffers, at some point in their lives. And in the midst of that hurt, there is a decision you have to make. This brings us to the third fact.
III. The Decision Job Faced.
If you look at 1:9-11 & 2:4-5. Satan is saying, “The only reason he is devoted to you is because you’ve been good to him. Stop blessing him, let him suffer, and he will curse you!” That’s the decision Job faced and that’s the decision you and I face every time life takes a turn for the worse. so, do I curse God or bless Him? Do I doubt God or trust Him? Do I walk by sight or walk by faith? That’s the decision we face when life takes a turn for the worse.
What did Job do?
‘At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.’ Job 1:20-22
‘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
In other words, he decided to trust God. And that’s what we need to do when life takes a turn for the worse. We need to trust God. I want you to trust that God has it all under control. Trust God even though you are quarantined, home schooling and job-less. Trust Him despite the fact that you may be sick and Trust God to do what He promised us He would do.
Why should I trust God when life takes a turn for the worse? Because it’s the RIGHT thing to do. Afterall, God is in total control, He knows how to run the universe, and He deserves our trust. It’s the right thing to do and it’s the BEST thing to do. God will take care of you through thick and thin if you’ll just trust Him.
Is it an easy decision? Not all the time, especially when circumstances lie and tell you, “God let you down.” “He doesn’t care.” “He won’t help you.” Deciding to trust God when life takes a turn for the worse may not be an easy decision, but it is the right decision – and the best decision.
What about you? I hope and pray that God has used this short article to speak to your heart and I hope this will help you trust God when life takes a turn for the worse.