So You Think You Have it Bad?

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”  While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you”

Job 1:13-19 NLT (emphasis added)

Some of us have so many things going on in our lives that we think, “can things get any worse?” Well, it surely happened to Job, and he was a righteous man of God. I put emphasis on certain parts of the above passage of scripture for a reason. Job was eating with his family and messengers came four different times to give him bad news, and all of which were devastating. This was clearly an attack of the devil to try to take him out (see Job 1:6-12). We throw our hands up in despair and complain over one little iota of bad news or one unpleasant circumstance, but Job received bad news of four different events in the same day, back to back. If you notice, it says “while he (the messenger) were still speaking” other messengers were still coming to deliver more bad news. I can just see Job’s face as this was happening. And to top it off, if you think this was bad, Satan, after delivering that blow to Job, went as far as to strike again and attack his body with boils (see Job 2:1-7). If you think you have it bad now, maybe you need to study the book of Job because he surely was dealt a bad hand by the enemy all at once.  

Did Job have a natural reaction of despair and disappointment? Yes, he sure did; but look at his response:

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God

Job 1: 20-22 NLT (emphasis added)

Job realized that everything he had wasn’t his to begin with because it belonged to the Lord, and no matter what happened, he was going to praise God in the middle of it. I love what verse 22 says, “In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.” Can you honestly say this when you hear bad news. Do you curse God or praise God? God always gets the blame for what is wrong in our lives, and hardly ever gets credit when things are going right. How often do phrases like these escape our lips when we have a problem, “Why, God, why?” “Lord, why did you let this happen to me?” “Nothing ever good happens to me,” “My life sucks.” Why not say, “Lord, if this happened, I trust that you will restore me. I know that whatever is taken from me you can give me something even better!” First Thessalonians 5:18 says to “be thankful in all circumstances…” Whether good, bad, or indifferent, you need to be thankful. Be careful of what comes out of your mouth because you will have to eat your words (see Proverbs 18:21). James 3:10 (NLT) says, “And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” Don’t curse the One that can help you. Only use your mouth to praise and worship God, especially in the midst of turmoil. You speaking negatively about the situation doesn’t get God to move, and it only magnifies the problem.

Now Job did start to question God and throw out some accusations regarding his situation. Just as Job had to get his feelings off of his chest, we go through the same thing. He had a pity party for 34 chapters, and even got his friends involved in the process, which God did not approve of (see Job 42:7). I remember reading this and I got so irritated that he complained and had a pity party for 34 chapters, but we do the same thing. We may even go on for days, weeks, and months before we get over ourselves. Eventually God had had enough and He put Job in his place (see Job 38-42). After God put Job in check the first time, all Job could say was, “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say” (Job 40:4-5 NLT). God didn’t feel that Job got the picture so He put him in check a second time, and after that all Job could say was:

“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! 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. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance”

Job 42:2-6 NLT.

For some of us, we need God to personally check us because we just don’t seem to get it. I know from experience that when God has to check you, things begin to change in how you view things. You get a brand new perspective.

The story of Job ends by him realizing that his assumption of the situation and of God was very wrong. God is merciful because He told Job to pray for his friends and once he did that, God restored Job and gave him DOUBLE of everything that he lost (see Job 42:10-17). Not only that, his friends that spoke harshly about the Lord were forgiven as well. What the devil meant for harm, God turned it around for Job’s good and He will do the same for you.

I encourage you to study the book of Job because no matter what you’re going through, someone out there definitely has it worse than you. There are people with less than you have who can still put a smile on their face and be thankful. And if they can do that, why can’t you when you have the Creator of all things on your side and the Word of God at your disposal!

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