Have you ever had periods in your life where you felt like you could relate to Job? There are seasons in all of our journeys where, to the best of our knowledge we are following well, yet everything seems to be crumbling around us. Maybe a job loss or financial difficulty will arrive. Perhaps we will lose someone close to us or have an internal battle threaten to rage out of control. We are doing the things God told us to do but still our lives seem to be spiraling downward and picking up speed. These are the times of character refinement, and it is these moments that determine our true loyalty. Will we give up because it is too hard? Or will we say with Job, “The Lord gives and He takes away… I will never curse my friend” (Job 1:21-22; Job 2:9-10)?
In Psalm 13, David asks the Lord how long He will forsake him. Here is a man who walked incredibly close to God, yet now he’s crying out asking how long the Lord will forget about him and refuse to look on him. David is in despair. His closest ally seems distant and he is heartbroken. Still, David refuses to curse God or continue to wallow in his problems. Instead, he praises God for His unfailing love and for how generous the Lord has been to him. David boldly declares that he will trust in God’s love and rejoice in his salvation. Instead of focusing on his current circumstances, he chooses to sing to the Lord with praise. What an incredible attitude!
Both Job and David provide examples for how to handle adversity. The rain will fall on the wicked and the good, so we should not be surprised when the storms rage around us (Matthew 5:44-45). We can take comfort in the fact that God is our rock in the midst of the crashing waves of adversity (Matthew 7:24-27; Psalm 18:2).I have found that when we are in the midst of howling winds, the next great thing God has for us is just on the other side. These are not times of punishment, but rather preparation for what is to come. He needs to see if we will follow Him no matter what comes our way. This is generally a precursor to a great opportunity, and God is strengthening us to face the challenge.
It’s so easy to take our eyes off of Jesus when we are being battered by life. The crazy thing is, just when we need Him most, we tend to look away from Him. We determine it’s too hard or simply not worth it. We complain that we have diligently served Him, only to have life smack us in the face. Sometimes we may even question if God is there at all. These are our defining moments. We can turn back if we want; God has given us the absolute freedom to do so. Or we can say with Peter, “Lord, where else would I go? You have the words of life!” (John 6:68). Jesus doesn’t allow the storms into our lives because He is angry and wants to punish us. Rather, He allows them so that we might stretch, grow, and rely on Him in deeper and greater ways. Don’t turn away in the midst of the battle. Persevere. Deliverance is just on the other side of your despair.