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We all have them. Some more than others. James tells us to count them all joy (1:2), but it’s easier said than done.
The book of Job offers wisdom for trusting God in times of distress. When Job emerged from his test of faith, he told God, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes” (Job 42:5 NLT). Job’s trouble transformed his knowledge of God from “crumbs of rumors” (42:5 MSG) to feasts of faith.
Here are three reminders to help us grow spiritually during trial seasons:
1. God’s plan is bigger than we think.
God is orchestrating the affairs of this world in ways far beyond our comprehension. Job was unaware of his role in God’s plan to remind Satan that he is a defeated foe. Satan thought Job only served God for the benefits. He claimed that if God removed the blessings and protection from Job, he would reject God. Satan didn’t understand Job’s motive, but God did. God knew Job would stand under pressure. How? Because Job was so convinced of God’s unfailing love (10:12) that he would trust Him even when he lost everything (13:15; Read also Habakkuk 3:17-18).
To feast on faith, we must settle two issues: God orders the steps of our life (Psalm 37:23), and His love will never abandon us (Romans 8:31-39). If God allows it, He will handle it. Our present circumstances have not changed the nature of God (Hebrews 13:8). He is always worthy of our devotion!
2. God’s focus is on developing our character.
God is committed to the process of shaping us into “a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master” (2 Timothy 2:21 NKJV). Job had a flaw in his character that God was working to correct. Job 32:1-2 says, “he was righteous in his own eyes” and “he justified himself rather than God.” Job filled several chapters with emotional outbursts of self-pity. When he stopped long enough to hear God speak, he developed a deeper understanding of how great God is and how insignificant he was (42:6).
God doesn’t want our conditional trust, He wants us to die to ourselves. Paul said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8 ESV).
God will also use disappointment with people to shape our souls and cause us to find our fulfillment only in Him. Job was hurt by his friends who misrepresented God while dispensing theological advice. When Job prayed for his friends as God commanded, he was restored. Repentance and forgiveness released blessings.
To feast on faith, we must surrender to the process of becoming like Jesus. Instead of asking, “Why, Lord?” learn to ask, “What now, Lord?” God “will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV).
3. God’s viewpoint is eternal.
When Job was at his lowest point; when nothing seemed secure, he held on to one truth. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25 ESV).
God sees everything from the perspective of eternity. We may not know what is required to accomplish God’s eternal purpose, but we can know that God is with us in our affliction (Isaiah 43:2) and working for our good (Romans 8:28-29).
To feast on faith, we must understand God is preparing us for eternity with Him (2 Corinthians 4:17, Revelation 21:4). The Apostle Peter encouraged us to look forward with joy. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (I Peter 4:12-13 ESV).