20 Then Job got up and (Z) tore his robe and shaved his head, and fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said:
“(AA) Naked I came out of my mother’s womb,
And naked I will return there.
The (AB) Lord gave and the Lord has taken it away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord. ”
22 (AC) Through all this Job did not sin or [m]blame god. (Job 1: 20-22, NASB)
As I sit here preparing for my sister’s funeral, I remember a sermon preached at the funeral of another close relative. The preacher was also a relative and also drew his subject from the previous text. The issue was posed as a question: Can God trust you with problems? Of all the massive sermons I have heard and preached, this one resonates fluently and incessantly in my soul. What I have learned is that my faith is not sustained by the fruit of my conquered moments. It is not justified by the reward I have accumulated. My faith is validated and confirmed in the midst of trials and adversity. So today I ask you the same question: Can God trust you with problems?
When we look at Job throughout this passage, we see a man who has lived his life in a way that pleased God. In fact, God gives Job one of the most stellar reviews in the Bible. Let’s see how God describes Job in chapter 1.
8 And the Lord said to Satan: Have you considered my servant Job, that there is no other like him on earth, a man of integrity and uprightness, one who [reverently] fear God and abstain and avoid evil [because it is wrong]? (Job 1: 8, AMP)
God uses words like blameless and righteous to describe Job. I want you to realize something extremely relevant to understanding this message as a whole. At the same time that God is giving Job this brilliant and pure overview, He is volunteering him for the spiritual and physical hailstorm of all ages. “Have you considered my servant Job …” God is telling Satan that if you are looking for someone to test, I will volunteer Job. Understand this; If God volunteers you, you are definitely ready for the moment.
Why would God offer his best to bear the worst? I’ll tell you why. In the legal world, as long as there is testimony, the opposition has the right to cross-examine. In other words, testimony is not allowed to be based simply on its merits, it must be sustained under cross-examination. The same is true of the Christian life. When you make your proclamation of faith you must understand that at some point your testimony will be questioned by the vicissitudes of life. It doesn’t matter how tight you walk the line. It doesn’t matter how often you pray. Regardless of the depth of your knowledge of the Scriptures, you will have to endure questioning from the enemy.
Despite all of Job’s loyalty, he reaped disasters. Despite all his righteous life, he encountered darkness. For every passionate prayer he made, he was met with news of death and loss. As we go through the book of Job, we learn that he did not understand his heartache. He couldn’t put a finger on its fountain; however, all he knew was that he had done nothing to deserve it. Wait, maybe it did. When you live within the will of God and walk in your purpose, you put yourself dead in the sights of the enemy. When you make your proclamation of why God lives and by God I die, you become public enemy # 1.
The scriptures tell us that in all of this, Job did not sin. Job not only refrained from sinning, but he found a way to praise God in the midst of his pain. When I think about this, the same question keeps ringing in my mind: Can God trust you with trouble? When all the eloquent words in the world cannot rescue you, and the sheer force of the enemy is directed against you and your loved ones, can God trust you with that pain?
When you can’t pray to drive away loneliness, will you keep praising? When you can’t talk about the dark, will you keep showing gratitude? When in exchange for your love your friends become your accusers, will you continue to proclaim the greatness of God? Oh, it’s easy to shout his praise when everything is going well in your life, but when the phone rings just to give you more bad news, can you sing of his courage?
Your legacy will be established through the way you participate in your trials. Your greatness will reveal itself as you relentlessly advance towards your goal. Will your story reveal your worth or that you just buckled under the pressure? God wants to trust you with problems. Well, can he?