“Terrors are turned upon me; They pursue my honor as the wind, and my prosperity has passed like a cloud. “And now my soul is poured out because of my plight; The days of affliction take hold of me.” Job 30:15-16
We’ve considered the difficulty of walking through dark valleys in recent weeks. We’ve also considered the great comfort we have knowing that the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, is with us every step of the journey. Job, a man who walked with God, was no stranger to the dark valley. He was well acquainted with the deep pain of affliction and sorrow. The affliction Job endured struck home, quite literally. The pain and discomfort pressed hard in his heart and mind. Note what Job said about the “days of affliction” in verse 16. They took hold of him. Affliction seized and surprised him. Nearly everything he had was taken away. Terror and trouble seized his soul like the secure grip of handcuffs on a criminal’s hands behind his back. It took hold of him and its grip was strong. Yet, the Lord was at work protecting and sustaining Job, loosening that hold, ministering to him in his pain, that he would persevere in the faith and trust God through it all.
One reason statements like the ones in the verses above are in the Bible is so that we might learn in our own times of extreme difficulty that such experiences are not foreign to God’s beloved children. Scripture also teaches us about God’s work and blessing in our perseverance. James, in James 5:11, gives us helpful insight to Job and his perseverance- “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” God didn’t treat Job as he deserved. God didn’t let Satan do as he desired to Job. Rather, in Job’s perseverance we see much evidence of His compassion and mercy. Job was knocked down and wounded, but by God’s grace and work kept his eyes on his Lord, got up again and continued to walk with Him.
God’s compassion and mercy is quite evident as we persevere as well. Like Job, afflictions, pestilence, and trials come upon us surprisingly hard some times- even right now. It feels like our feet have been knocked out from under us. We were cruising long and suddenly life changes dramatically. The bus of “normal” life came to a halt. However, we need to remind ourselves daily that this is all from God’s hand and is serving His purposes. God continues to remind and teach us through the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Through the eyes of our flesh, we see things as heavy, grievous, and long. Yet the eyes of faith perceive affliction as light, short, and but for a moment with eternity in view.
Consider the reality that Jesus’ suffering and affliction was far greater than any of us can ever experience. He not only endured the ridicule, shame, and torture of men, He also endured the wrath of God as it was poured out on Him for us. He suffered so much and died for us that we would live and will have life eternal with Him in heavenly glory. Further, God calls us to persevere. So let’s continue to press on, as the Holy Spirit helps us do so to the end. Let’s keep our view of our trials and afflictions in the right perspective as God uses them to teach, mold, and prepare us for the enjoyment of eternal glory.