Adversity: An indicator that you might be doing something right.

(Today's post by Keith Senator)

Job 1-3

Sometimes I think of what it must have been like to grow up and live in the old testament. I think of Adam and Eve. To have everything you need in the garden and be greeted by the Creator of everything every morning. Then after the fall, dealing with how to approach or have any relationship with God at all. When we come to Job in the Bible, you see a man who was seen as righteous (blameless and upright) before God. Now that is a statement. Despite the fall, it amazes me that he is seen as righteous. Just the whole way of life astounds me. People walking around, or counting on an animal to carry you somewhere. I mean the world was so much bigger back then. You would need to spend a lot of your day thinking about the essentials and how to survive.

In today's reading, Job 1-3, we start in Uz, where Job lived. We see right away that Job was a wealthy man. He also had a very large family (10 kids). In chapter 1 vs 3, it says that he was the greatest man among all the people of the east. That is pretty bold.

(Heavy music…villainous and dark music starts to play)

6 One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Now this must be rhetorical. I mean is it possible that God does not know where satan has been? I think not. But satan responds that he has been roaming about the earth. Then God says to satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?”

Satan basically tells God that it is easy being Job because he has been protected by God with a hedge. So God allows him to mess with Job under one condition, he cannot do anything to Job himself. So satan attacks his family and all his belongings. Can you imagine having such a great life without any strife or misfortune and to suddenly be hit with so much calamity at once? It doesn't work. Job is a stallion and does not curse God. So he tries again, but this time asks if he can attack Job personally. God allows this to happen and it is horrible. Satan really has a field day with Job. Job responds in chapter 3 in a pretty cool way. A way that expresses anger, but not directed at God.

I think chapter 3 is interesting because it shows a very personal place that is in his own words. Even in this terrible situation he does not curse God. He does wish he had never been born. I am not sure where everyone else sits on this, but I do not see him blaming God. Holy smoke, I don't know if I would be the same. I hope I would. But this is an exceptional man.

All of this really challenges my thinking to a point. I always see satan as the one who has the big idea to mess with people. Here we have God coming up with the idea. It is like satan is cruising around kicking the can because he is bored or something. Then God was like, hey scrub, come here. What are you doing? I have somebody you can test…Job. I have just never seen the character of God like this. Or maybe never saw it quite like this before now. I tend to think that God allows people to be tested. Which I guess is the same thing when I stop and think about it. But I never think of God as the initiator of the adversity.

An old professor once said to me, and this is something I have carried with me a long time, “Don't try to squirm out of adversity, to go around it, under it, or over it. Instead, press into it, breath it in and allow God to use the experience to build character. Only then will you be prepared for ministry.” That is actually paraphrased and probably poorly. But I thought it was sage, so I kept it. I love the beautiful idea that God takes something terrible, and is able to have a positive end.

From that standpoint I guess it kinda makes sense. God allows us to be tested, and through this, we are made stronger. Without adversity, we would just be weak and self reliant.

When I look to our brothers in India, who are persecuted regularly. I see a richness there. I see a patina of His grace that is so deep and resolute. I see a faith that is so genuine. I see true Christian character.

In making an observation about the text, I would say that satan really isn't interested in a defeated man. He is interested in trying to destroy the bond between a man and his personal creator. He is after the man who is dependent on God. I don't know if I have ever had a face to face encounter with satan himself. I cannot pinpoint this time if so. But I know I have faced adversity. I can look back on my life and see a difference between the man I was and the man I am. I know this is the work of God.

Can you recall a time of adversity in your life that God used to make you stronger?

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  • Brice Hope

    James 1:2-5 describes this perfectly:

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

    When faced with adversity or trials we always want to ask the question of “why?”. Just like you described we need to ask God how to teach us, admonish us and instruct us through adversity to build up us in Christ.

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