Do you ever wonder why your life has turned out the way it has? I mean is this (really) as good as it gets? Do you look around and see others who seemed to have achieved their dreams. Perhaps success is within your field of vision. You don’t have to look too far to find success, maybe in a brother or sister. In truth, you feel that it should have been you and yet “making it” does not describe you. The spot you have found yourself in seems to wrap you up in a cycle of endless doubt. And you remember your dreams of long ago and how positive you were that you would accomplish them all. But one by one you tick them off and wonder once again, “how did I find myself here?” As you look in the mirror Doubt, Discouragement and Fear seemed to have become your closest companions. Doubt whispers, “It’s too late to make a change now.” Discouragement, not known to be shy, simply and clearly states, “You’re beyond a time where you could make a change that would be of any value or worth.” So as a result of Fear you wonder, “Doesn’t it get any better than this?”
And as you look to your past Doubt, Discouragement, and Fear, your new stalkers scoff at your memories and kick to the curb any thoughts of the future, making it very hard to go on. “After all,” Doubt says, “None of your dreams came true.” And Discouragement looks at your youth and declares, “What a waste, You should have done better.” And as you trod through your days, your new companions continue to remind you of all the times you failed in the past. So you wonder, “How did I get here?” and “What could I have done to make it any better?” And like shadows, you find your stalkers closely behind you filling your mind with questions about where you are and where you could be.
But your cohort, Doubt, has caused you to continue to wonder why, and your colleague, Discouragement, seeks to paint your future with doom in conjunction with Fear, causing you to ask questions like, “Why did my spouse walk away from our children and me, after so many years, and the many words of love spoken?” Or, “Why did I get pregnant with no one to stand by my side and no way to take care of my child?” And your tormentor Discouragement causes you to ask, “Why I was not able to conceive after years of trying only to have my doctor tell my husband and I that It would never be?” While your persecutor Doubt is prompting you to ask, “Why after knocking on so many doors looking for that perfect position did the final door shut so hard and so harsh?” And though you are resisting Fear overwhelms you until you ask, “Why was I passed over for that longed after promotion when I worked so faithfully to get that degree?” These questions are real and often devastating causing anxiety, depression and may lead to alcohol and or drug abuse. And again the shadows of Doubt, Discouragement, and Fear hover in the background reminding you once again that you have failed.
Perhaps your questions run much deeper. Maybe life has taken you down a road connected to Chronic Pain? And you find yourself wandering down a dark path with vines that cross from side-to-side tripping you up with a life-altering disease like Cancer, Chrohns, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or you were left without the use of your legs as the result of an emergency spinal surgery? Perhaps due to a failed spinal surgery, your back is permanently altered, and pain is a shadow that you cannot get away from or live without. And then of course there are the chronic conditions that take over the course of your life like diabetes, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s Disease, Scleroderma, Cystic Fibrosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Or any of the countless other conditions that never seem to find a cure or relief? And in the midst of the pain and difficulties caused by these often uncurable conditions, the questions roll through your mind and Doubt, Discouragement and Fear bring you to the edge and overwhelm you.
After all, you did your due diligence going from doctor to specialist to surgeon then back to another doctor just to see that you are no farther ahead. Days, weeks, and months have passed you by, and you have tried one more medication or another surgical procedure to find that the map that you have followed leads you back around again. And as the gloomy days move step-by-step your spirit feels the rain and your thoughts begin to sag under its weight until that covering you designed can no longer handle the burden and tears. And you start to wonder why did my life turn out this way?
Job was a man in history who could have honestly said, “Well I’ve lived a good life, how on earth could my life have turned out this way?” As far as resumes go his would have found its way to the top of the pile on Gods desk. If you take a peek at the first verse in the Old Testament account of Job, it reads like this,
I cannot imagine having a better resume to set before God. When I look at my past certainly words like “Blameless” or “Upright” could not be used when describing my life. So how about you would you be able to use these words to describe your past? But, scripture says that Job was blameless.
Our dictionary defines the word blameless this way, “Free from or not deserving blame; guiltless.” And when checking the word upright, the definition is: “Adhering to rectitude; righteous, honest, or just: an upright person.” Perhaps you could come up with another example in scripture with that kind of a resume, but the only one that I can think of who meets this criterion and more is the savior Jesus Christ. So it is obvious that he did not have what we would call “issues.” Job was a family man who had found success, land and wealth. Now if you’re looking at the stack of resumes on God’s desk, certainly His would be at the top of the pile. What is (clearly) surprising when reviewing all of this is that Job had to have wondered how his life could have turned out the way that it did. And he had companions who came by his side and with clarity spoke doubt and discouragement into his life.
Now, do you remember that resume that I was referring too? What is true for all of us was true for Job. God had an assignment for Job to complete and he had all of the credentials. Job 1:6-12 records that Satan approached the throne and provoked God concerning Job. God in his wisdom knew that he had prepared Job for the challenge. From Job 1:13-20 scripture records these devastating details. The Sabeans (a foreign Nation) attacked and took Job’s oxen who were plowing and donkeys while they grazed killing all but one of Job’s servants. Fire from God rained down from the heavens and burned his sheep alive killing all but one servant. The Chaldeans (another foreign nation) raided and made off with all of Job’s camels killing all of his servants except one. Job’s children (all of them) were at a brother’s home partying, and a wind storm blew all four walls in killing all of his children and servants except one. I don’t know if you noticed a pattern here, but in each situation, only one of the servants survived. The one who remained became the messenger to bring Job this awful news. But unlike many of us, including me, Job was up for the challenge.
Job’s resume was rock solid. What I love was that not only was his resume top of the line but his heart was in the right place as well. In Job 1:20-21 it reveals the heart of this man.
If you were wondering where the phrase “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away” well you can blame Job. Can you imagine being up for the challenge that God had prepared Job for, or would you be willing to have your life turn out this way? And to put the cherry at the top of the sundae, in Job 1:22 it says that,
Now things hit close to home for me. In Job 2:3 after Satan had the gall to approach God again, God challenges Satan regarding Jobs righteous response in Job 2:4-5. Defiant as he always has been,
Simply put, Satan asked God to take Job’s good health away and to bring suffering to him. Job records in Job 2:7
There are many of us who suffer from ill health and chronic pain. I confess that I question my chronic pain and wonder what God is doing in and through my life. Am I on the road to demonstrating God’s grace, strength and the courage that brings true worship? Are we, as a part of the suffering community, given the privilege to reveal to the world who God truly is and what He plans to do through our lives? Do we as a suffering community have the right to question why our life has turned out this way?
Life for Job did not get easier. Of course, his well-meaning friends stepped in to give their take on it all. And they could not imagine why all of these horrible things could happen to Job. They decided to sit with Job and offer their wisdom. Job 2:11
Eliphaz the Temanite I refer to as Discouragement, because this was his message to Job in Job 4:5.
Bildad the Shuhite I will call Doubt because all that he said was to cause Job to doubt who he was and what God would do for him.
Job 8:20. The first verse of Job states that he was blameless so his message that implied the opposite was incorrect per the Holy Scriptures.
Zophar the Naamathite I will call fear. It seems as if Zophar is preaching to Job with this dogmatic statement. Job 11:15.
Truly, Job had nothing to fear from God because he was a man who, “…feared God and shunned evil.” Job 1:1b.
In Job 4, his colleagues in Discouragement, Doubt, and fear surround him under the guise of compassion seeking to comfort Job. And though these associates challenged him at every step and threatened to cause him to fear God, and doubt his love, and they ultimately found the dish that they served Job set before them when the Lord speaks to Jobs friends in Job 42:7b,
So Discouragement, Doubt, and Fear were put in their place by God though they like us need grace. Job lovingly prayed for these three men the way I would long to respond when attacked. Job 42:10
Scripture records in Job 42:12-15 that,
Scripture goes on to record that Job lived to be 140 years and saw his children all the way through to the fourth generation. We cannot comprehend today what a life set aside for Christ looks like. Job is a clear picture of what God can do with someone who is sold out for Him.
Did Job ever wonder why his life turned out the way that it did? Perhaps you could make a case from what he said to his friends that he certainly could have had that on his mind. It would seem at least from a surface glance that that is what he thought. Scripture records that by all intended purposes his life ended pretty well. After all, it says in Job 42:12 that God blessed Job in the later part of his life more than in than before. And yet it says that everyone who knew him came to console him for his loses even giving him gifts of gold and silver revealing in Job 42:11 that,
This response to Job was after God restored to Job twice of what he owned. I would ask you what there is to console if everything is restored except for what he lost? It has been said that you can lose everything but if you have your health you have everything. Job bore horrendous pain and anguish through this time. He suffered chronic pain with no modern pain relievers. Also, when you lose someone that you love there is a gap that cannot be filled by anything, and time does not heal that wound. Finally, the loss of so much can cause even the most trusting soul to wonder, “Could this happen again.” So it can be safely assumed that even in this time of blessing Job felt grief for the loss of his children. Even though God blessed Job with more children that he loved dearly he may still have wondered, “Why his life turned out the way that it did.” And in the end, could he have thought to himself, “Is this as good as it gets?” I would like to believe that God healed him from the pain in his past but scripture does not tell us that.
Regardless of the way that it is in your life right now, and even if you wonder in your heart, “Is this as good as it gets?” No matter what we may be facing in our life today and even if it does not seem like it is going to get any better, the important question that we should be asking is not if it is going to get better but if we know Jesus Christ as our (own personal) savior. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 3:23
We all fall short, and cannot make it on our own. No one can make it based upon merit. John, the disciple of Jesus who was by Jesus side with his mother Mary on Golgotha’s Hill, recorded in the gospel John 3:16 the powerful words that lead to salvation,
So simply put none of us are good enough for heaven, but Jesus in the ultimate sacrifice made a way for us to be made right before God. If you have never asked the Lord Jesus to forgive your sins and to come into your heart as your Savior what is stopping you from doing that right now?
If we know Jesus Christ as our Savior, then we are seen by God the Father through his Son as blameless. So in truth, this is as good as it gets. Remember how I exclaimed over Job’s resume because he was “Blameless,” and “Upright”? Well, in truth because of what our Savior has done for us we are blameless as well in the eyes of God. The apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:4 says,
Hallelujah, I am as Job “Blameless” in the sight of my Father. Do I wonder why my life has turned out this way? Certainly, My stalkers Doubt, Discouragement and Fear hover close behind, but I do not have to fear because I am blameless in the sight of God. And I know of my Saviors love because of His word in II Corinthians 12:9
And because I can boast in my weaknesses, I know the power of Christ. So I can say with confidence that it cannot get any better than it is today.