IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS
Job and Joseph
Part 2g, the final installment
From our previous Part 2f, we learned that God is connecting the pieces of our sufferings, whether we understand them or not, so that He can help us to reach our destiny; to have a deep intimate relationship with Him and to be used by Him so others can also have a deep intimate relationship with Him. And the reason God does not allow us to see all of the details that He is working out as He writes our story, is because He wants us to walk in faith, trusting Him completely.
I brought out two points earlier in Job’s story that I believe are very important to those reading this. The first was that in just moments, Job lost everything and everyone he knew and loved. As I studied the story of Job, this point brought back memories of all that I had personally lost.
In a blink of an eye, as I chose to stop going to the Kingdom Hall, I lost everyone I knew and loved. Everyone disowned me; family, friends… everyone. I suffered pain that I never imagined I ever would. I didn’t understand at the time why, but here I am now fourteen years later. God has taken my ashes and turned them to beauty as He pursued a relationship with me because He loves and desires me.
I know that there are many who have experienced this same pain. I know that pain is hard and you feel broken, empty, and alone. But don’t give up hope! God’s got you right where He wants you! He knows your heart, sees your tears, and feels your pain; just like He did mine. And no matter what you’ve been taught, NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM GOD’S LOVE!
“Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, or any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be be to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” –Romans 8:38, 39
The second point was that Job’s hedge of protection or covering was taken from him. I remember feeling great pain and fear, just like Job may have felt, as I walked out of the Watchtower organization. I thought that the only way to have a relationship with God was to be a part of an organization or religion. I was so wrong!
While in Job’s day, in Old Testament times, animals and livestock served as a provisional sacrifice to cover over human sins, they could not ultimately atone for humans. Instead, we needed Someone who knew no sin to stand in and take the punishment that is due to every human. Jesus stood in the place we rightly deserve to stand in, taking our punishment and shedding His precious and innocent blood to atone for us.
Hebrews 9:12 tells us: “He did not enter by means of blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.”
God loved us so much and desired for us to be made right with Him that He provided His own sacrifice so that His own wrath could be removed from us. (John 3:16; Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9) And now that Christ has died for our sins the ONLY requirement is to believe in Him as your Lord and Savior.
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” –Romans 10:9
I emphasized that it’s not about religion. God never intended us to have a religion, but a deep and intimate relationship with him. I love this quote by Rick Warren: “God is love. He didn’t need us. But HE WANTED US. And that’s the most amazing thing.” God loves us so much that He actually pursues us, as Psalm 23:6 says: “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life…”
You may be at a place right now where you are empty and alone in your trials and sufferings, but God is working all things out in His providence, for His glory and your good. I believe He is pursuing you because He loves you with a deep, unconditional, everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3; Isaiah 54:10; Psalm 103:17; Romans 8:35-39) Don’t run away from Him in anger or fear.
You may feel broken and alone but you’re not. God will heal you to completeness and restore your wounds. He will turn your “ashes to beauty.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)
He may have you placed as He did Joseph, to prepare you for helping other loved ones–family and friends, to come out of religious bondage and into His loving arms.
Or you may have Job’s story where He blesses you with family again; but this time with other Christians who may love you more then you could ever comprehend; without conditions just like God loves us.
Forgive those who have hurt you and give God your pain. Your sufferings are a privilege that God will use to prepare you for greater things and build your patience, faith and hope in Him as He brings you to your destiny through His providence! (Jeremiah 29:11; Zephaniah 3:17; 1 Peter 4:12-13; James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5; Joel 2:25)
May the Lord God, Jehovah, and His Son Jesus Christ,
richly bless and keep you to the day of Jesus’s return in glory
and for all eternity with Him!
If you would like to read this blog series in its entirely, click here for the first installment.