When you give your life to Christ, you become a citizen of heaven and you are no longer a citizen of this world. You have a new ruler in Jesus and you must learn to live by the rules of His kingdom, not by the rules of your flesh or your desires. Your relationships, behavior, stewardship of finances, treatment of your body, reaction to pain, etc. is all governed by heavenly rules and one of the rules of God’s kingdom is that we must trust God in the midst of our pain.
If you have a tea bag without a tag, then the only way to find out what kind of tea is in the bag is to put it in hot water. Equally, the best way to know what rules someone lives by is to see what happens when they are put in “hot water” or put under stress or trials.
As Christians, we will experience “hot water” in life. Just look at Jesus’ life: he had no wealth, he had no home while He lived out His ministry, and in the end, the very people He came to serve and teach killed him. But although as Christ followers we are not promised wealth or an easy life on earth, we are promised spiritual riches which no one can take away.
Today we will read the story of Job, whose actions are definitely in contrast to how the world would respond in the same situation. The Bible tells us in Job 1 that Job was a good man who praised God and even offered sacrifices for the potential sins of his children.
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East. Job 1:1-3
Following this is a conversation between God and Satan. God testifies on Job’s behalf that he is a man of integrity who praises God, but Satan retorts that Job only praises God because he has been protected and blessed with a stress-free life and if all of that were taken away, Job would curse God.
So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” Job 1:9-11
One of Satan’s names in the Bible is the “Accuser.” He accuses you to god day and night and when things are going wrong in your life, he will accuse God to you. He is smart, cunning, and strategic and he knows how to maximize pain. The devil only speaks three times in the Bible, and each time his sole intent is to destroy the relationship between man and God.
God has faith in Job’s integrity, so He allows Satan to attack Job (v. 12). Why does He give Satan permission to do this? We may not understand why God allows suffering, but neither do we understand what good will come out of it. Sometimes we experience the consequences of our own sinful behavior because it leads to change and purification. Sometimes we think we don’t deserve pain and suffering, but actually we don’t deserve blessing. In our sinful nature we deserve death, and yet even in our sinful state, God sent His Son to die for our sins.
Here are some questions to ponder about your own response to trials and suffering:
1. What blessings do you expect to have from your relationship with God? Job? Riches? Spouse? Health?
Our culture is obsessed with asserting our rights and getting what we are “owed.” Instead, we ought to have an attitude of thanks toward all the blessings we receive.
2. What attitude toward God resulted from your last trial?
When trials come your way, do you first ask “Why me? Why now? Why not that person?” Do you blame God, get mad at God, or curse God?
- or -
Do you praise God, trust in God, and worship God? Instead of asking, “Why me?” ask “Why worship?” and look for the blessings in your life for which you can give thanks.
3. In what way can you better praise God for your pain?
We can praise God by thanking Him for the good times, past and present blessings, and support and encouragement. You can thank Him for your basic physical or mental abilities that others may not have. You can thank Him for shelter, love, food, relationships – or any blessings that He has brought into your life at any time.
So, the next time “hot water” or suffering comes your way, what kind of tea will you choose to be?