24 Feb

Chosen for testing

Nobody wants to be that guy. No one would wish what Job went through on their worst enemy.

Yet, he was chosen to be tested. Here was a guy that had done everything right. His reputation was stellar. He was known to be blameless, a man of integrity, God fearing, avoided evil, a family man and a successful business man who had earned a great amount of wealth.

He hadn’t cheated, wasn’t crooked, didn’t manipulate or take advantage of others in order to advance his own agenda. Job was a good guy and if ever there was a poster child for the rewards of making good choices and working hard, Job was the guy.

He lost it all. No, he didn’t make a mistake. It was simply tragic. He was a victim of crime, natural disaster and oppression. Job had been chosen for testing.

He lost his livelihood, house, kids and health all within a short timeframe. Everything he loved, cherished and had worked so hard to maintain was ripped from his hands.

Why?

Do you ever feel like Job? “What have I done to deserve this mess? I may not be perfect, and I have made my fair share of mistakes, but what did I do to earn this? It’s not fair. It’s not right,” we shout to the heavens.

Our responses tend to be a little different than Job’s. For sure he acknowledged the losses. He grieved. He expressed his pain and mourned. It was so bad that his friends scarcely recognized him. They sat with him for 7 days without words because the suffering was too great for words. Can you imagine?

Job’s wife seemed to make the most sense. “Just curse God and die,” she begged. Just end it. End the misery and pain.

Job’s response is profound. “Are we to only accept good from God and not the bad?”

Wait a minute. Good and bad from God? Now we have a crisis of belief. How could a loving God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Job must have been given the same incredible insight that Paul was given in Romans when he said. “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Somehow, someway Job realized and recognized, that even though it didn’t make sense, even though he didn’t understand why, God would use it all for good. All of it. The good bad and indifferent.

Let’s be honest, we are probably not ready to be chosen for testing. But what does it say about the person who is? Does it not say something about the  faith of the individual? To be tested is not a sign of weakness but of strength.

A survey of the scriptures soon reveals that it is hard to find anyone that God uses that wasn’t chosen to be tested. Not even Jesus.

I have noticed that those who have been chosen to be tested have a deep sense of God’s presence and grace. While they may not understand, they know he walks with them, sits with them and comforts them in ways they may not of experienced otherwise. They pay a high tuition for this insight. They are in the ivy leagues of suffering. They didn’t wish for it, ask for it or deserve it but they do acknowledge it and seek to use it for the greater good.

It is sobering to say the least. No doubt Job had questions and he and God had some definite one-on-on-times. In the end, Job’s words are heavy and give insight on what it is like for someone to come out on the other side of suffering, pain and tragedy. “God, I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” Somehow, once Job encountered God in a deeper way, nothing else mattered other than being with God.

What’s the point? We may never know why things happened the way they do on this side of heaven. But one thing we can be sure of, someday, when in His presence, our questions will melt like butter as we see Him and His ways clearly.

Does this leave us grasping at vapor and left empty handed? No doubt it does in many ways. But until such time, we can take comfort in knowing the one who has allowed the testing never wastes pain and suffering and will use it in ways we may never understand or imagine.

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