Reading Job earlier this week was scary. The first two chapters tell of God being proud of Job (Joeb), a man of great integrity. But Satan, the adversary and accuser, tells God that Job honors God only because of Job's great wealth and material blessings. God then allows Satan to strike down Job's wealth and children, but Job continued to honor God.
So the accuser tries again by saying Job will curse God if you take away his health. God allows Satan to strike Job "with terrible boils from head to foot. Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes." Ugh! But Job remained faithful to God.
Put your name in for Job's when you read that passage. Frightening. I commented about this on FaceBook and a friend replied "But the ending is good. :-)" Yeah, but the process to get there was painful. Job's family, wealth and blessings are restored more abundantly than before, but what a devastating trial to have to go through.
Through the process Job and his friends learn a few things about God. One take-away for me from Job's story is that when you improve your walk with Christ you become a target for Satan. God allows certain things to happen to you so that the Glory of God can be shown through you, as was the case with Job. Yes, I know, I should want to be part in glorifying God. But how much am I willing to sacrifice to do so? Will I still praise God like Job when I lose my job in a down economy? I will, but is my health and my family next to be stricken? If so, how will I respond then?
Another take-away is that God uses adversity to correct and purify his followers, to make us stronger. I do want to become closer to God so I pray that He will remove any unwholesome thing from my life. But do I love God so much that I'm willing to go through even a fraction of Job's trials if that's what it takes? When I ponder this, my prayers are filled with conflict and fear.
At least I have peace in knowing that these trials are temporary and that through my belief in Christ I and my family have eternal life.