Endurance, Character, Hope

In the first chapter of Job the man receives bad news after bad news.  While one servant is telling him of one tragedy, another servant comes and tells him of another.  In a matter of minutes Job learned that all his livestock are gone and his children destroyed.  Job’s response is fascinating:

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (vv.20-21 ESV – emphasis mine)

He didn’t simply acknowledge that God is sovereign and has the right to do with the earth (including man) whatever He wishes.  He acknowledged God’s righteousness.  “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”  These are not the words of someone who is grudgingly bowing before a lightning bolt hurling deity of destruction.  He acknowledges the goodness of God and the rightness in all the He does (we find out later in the book that he neither understands nor likes what has happened to him, but he still acknowledges God’s sovereignty and goodness).

We have great verses like Roman 8:28 to remind us of why we go through trials:

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)

A few weeks ago my youngest daughter was in the hospital for pneumonia.  As I was speaking with a pastor friend of mine, he look hard that right left lapel of my jack and says, “What’s your name tag say?  Job?”  We had a good chuckle.  Despite the running series of tragedies, major and minor, over the past four years and change, I would not compare myself to Job.  For one thing, I still have all my children alive and well.  Nevertheless, these have been trying years.

The other day as I did my daily Bible reading, I read both Job 1 and Romans 5.  Romans 5:3-5 leapt out at me:

“[W]e rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (ESV)

As I read this it suddenly occurred to me how much my wife and I have grown during these last four years.  God has worked all things for our good.  God has caused us to grow and blessed us in ways we never would have imagined, and never would have experienced had we not gone through these trials.

Suffering has produced endurance which has produced character, which has produced an unfailing hope.

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