“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21).
We see calamity and suffering in the book of Job, but Job’s saga does not end in despair. Through his life, we see that faith in God is substantiated even when our situation looks dismal. Unshakable faith must be built on the confidence that God’s excellent purpose will prevail.
When life is pleasant, praising God is easy because His kindness and goodness are abundantly evident. However, we may have difficulty recognizing pain and adversity as an expression of His loving care.
If we believe God is good only when things go well and are enjoyable, we misunderstand His nature and become numb to His benevolence toward us. When we know His character and trust His ways, we’re able to affirm His goodness at all times. Even when our situation and feelings tell us otherwise, we rely on what we know, always looking for signs of His loving care, under His umbrella of goodness.
God’s ability to do good is not limited to our understanding, however. We see this as Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus grew frightfully sick; they turned to Jesus for help yet He let their brother die (John 11:21,32). God has a greater purpose for everything He allows or orchestrates.
Jacob regained his son Joseph. Job acquired a new family (Job 42:10-17). Mary and Martha’s brother was raised. Circumstances are never so intense that they are beyond God’s reach. We need never despair because we belong to our loving God.
Pressure has a way of turning rough stones into diamonds:
- Although Stephen was martyred, the persecuted Christians scattered, thus spreading the gospel (Acts 8:1-4).
- When Jews were opposing Paul, he turned to the Gentiles with the gospel (Acts 18:5-6).
- Paul’s “thorn” in his flesh was given to keep him from becoming arrogant and conceited concerning the inexpressible revelations he had seen. He became a dynamic powerhouse for God (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Circumstances are not the barometer of God’s love and goodness—the Cross is. No matter what darkness we may be going through, or how deep the valley, we are assured that God has not abandoned us. His goodness will follow us all the days of our life and will prevail in the end (Psalm 23: 6).
When difficulties come our way,
God uses them to show
That when we put our trust in Him
His goodness we will know. –Sper