ODJ: Tested but Trusting

September 6, 2018 

READ: Job 23:1-17 

[Job] fell to the ground to worship [saying], “The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (1:20-21).

In my view, besides our relationship with God, each of us typically desire three key treasures—health, possessions and family. A loss to any can be heart wrenching. The Old Testament patriarch Job experienced a triple test—financial ruin, the deaths of his ten children and painful ill health (Job 1:14-19, 2:7). We can’t imagine the intensity of pain Job had to bear.

Coming to comfort him (v.11), his three friends invariably raised the big question: “Why do we suffer?” Over three rounds of heated disagreement (ch. 4-14; 15-21; 22-27), they maintained that suffering is always the result of sin. But Job could not accept their one-dimensional explanation.

In bitter pain, Job reached out to God, wanting to know the reasons for his suffering (23:1-5), for he had lived a blameless life (1:1,8). But God could not be found. At the time when Job most desperately needed Him, God was seemingly absent, not making His ways known (23:3,8-9).

You may have asked God at times: “Where are You when I’m hurting?” How can we cope with life’s tragedies when God doesn’t seem to care?

After pouring out his lament, Job eventually experienced God and reaffirmed his trust in Him (vv.10-12). God may have been silent, but He wasn’t absent. And Job could even say that good would come out of his pain: “When [God] tests me, I will come out as pure as gold” (v.10).

Life’s suffering tests our faith and our obedient trust (vv.11-12). When experiencing personal loss, let’s “[fall] to the ground to worship”, praise Him (1:20-21) and “be thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And may we draw strength from God’s Word, treasuring “his words more than daily food” (Job 23:12).

—K.T. Sim

365-day plan: Matthew 23:1-39

What do 1 Peter 1:6-9,4:12-13 and James 1:2-4 teach us about the purpose and value of our painful trials? 
What happens in your mind and heart when you worship God during trials? How does it comfort you to know God is not absent as you face them?