Encouraged by Job

By Catherine Powers

It can be so easy to lose faith or to blame God for what goes wrong in our lives - thinking that God has deserted us or has simply allowed our suffering or the suffering of those around us. I always think of Job when I'm going through a hard time or have lost someone. How could I possibly complain about something I've lost when nothing I could lose could compare with what Job went through? He lost his children, his farm, his health, his wife and friends turned on him. How did he manage to stay so strong in his faith?

We are so spoiled here in North America in our instant gratification society. We don't have even remotely close to the hardships our ancestors had and, I think as a direct result, we don't have near the strength of faith they did. What did Job say when things were tough? "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly" (Job 1: 20-22). Job knew that material possessions couldn't follow him to the afterlife. He knew that everything he had was from God's hand and he was wise enough to be grateful instead of foolishly blaming God for his misfortune.

What faith and strength of character Job had! His story is an inspiration and an example to us of how God wants us to act when times are tough. How can we be more like Job when life gets us down? The answer is in the Bible:

• "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, has not forsaken them that seek thee" (Psalm 9:10).

• "As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him" (Psalm 18:30).

• "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 42:11).

• "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work" (2 Thessalonians 2:15-17).

And a few of my favorites: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:18). "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10a). Because no matter what we go through, no matter how difficult life can get, we have the hope and promises of God to carry us through the hard times. He is with us, his children, regardless of our feelings on the matter!

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.

Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.

Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,

other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed

that during the low periods of my life,

when I was suffering from

anguish, sorrow or defeat,

I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,

"You promised me Lord,

that if I followed you,

you would walk with me always.

But I have noticed that during

the most trying periods of my life

there have only been one

set of footprints in the sand.

Why, when I needed you most,

you have not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,

"The times when you have

seen only one set of footprints,

is when I carried you."

Mary Stevenson


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