About every other week, Jim and I meet here at the Swing Inn. Breakfast and God talk and job and health issues and well, just life. Guy times. Good times. At our last get together, Jim brought up a friend of his who had a marvelous job opportunity in another state, and every step seemed orchestrated by God. Prayer inundated it all. They asked for input from trusted friends. Too many coincidences to be coincidental. The job turned out to be the proverbial “died and gone to heaven” type. Until…
Within a few months, the job ended and brought financial devastation. Jim couldn’t help but wonder why? Where was God when he seemed so involved in the move? Did God fail his friend?
At this point, nothing has been resolved. No new job, just tough times. No obvious result of why God allowed it to happen. That may come later, it may not.
But a phrase came to mind that applies to a lot of the tough times that come to us. Not a simplistic, “It happened for a reason” or “God never lets us be tempted beyond our faith” or “It will work out in the end.” The reason may never be known, or it can be the result of a sinful act by another. The issue may just be troubles, not temptations. And the end for some troubles can be death, just read Hebrews 11:35-39. Not all stories end well this side of heaven.
Soon our conversation turned to Job, who faced disasters most of us never do. Never did Job get an answer why, but he clung to the most important, “Though he (God) slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). Job didn’t need to know why, he didn’t need to limit the damage. He clung to God, and God was all he had. But God was enough.
I surprised myself with a line so good I had to write it down, and the wonder remained the next day. “Bad situations fade into relative insignificance compared to surpassing worth of knowing God.” Let’s never diminish how bad the situation is. But rather than obsessing over it, we can concentrate on what we know, God. His love. His care. His grace. Knowing him.
Jesus often gave some hard words, and after one event many walked away. Jesus then asked the Twelve, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” We can hear the discouragement in his voice. Peter, who so often struck out with the bases loaded, hit a grand slam this time, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:66-69).
Life sucks. Faith pushes us. People fail us. But once we know Jesus, we have the most important. And no tough time has the value of knowing Jesus.
Kick Starting the Application
Think of a time when you faced tough times and discouragement. How did it influence your faith? Did your response satisfy or frustrate you? How much did you rely on knowing Jesus to more than balance the difficulty? To get ready for the next tough time, how can you deepen your connection with God in the next week or month?