“Behold, I go forward but He is not there,And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him;He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.“But He knows the way I take;When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Here’s the lie; “If you develop an image of success, health, abundance, joy, peace, happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.” That’s a quote from Joel Osteen. Here’s truth---from the Apostle Peter, “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing…” The Biblical truth grounds me; lies like that from Osteen hurls me into spiraling chaos.
Job persevered because he knew that his suffering had purpose. The knowledge that a sovereign God ordained his pain allowed for hope and final victory. What if Job was an Osteen follower? Not that it has to be Osteen; the lie has always been the same; God wants you happy, God wants you rich, God wants you pain-free and all your desires maximized. Can’t you hear Satan whispering the same message through the ages?
Personally I’d be dead or on psych meds if I thought my personal trials were meaningless. I've fallen into that thought process before and it leads to either self-destructive behavior (porn and women in my case) or depression bordering on a clinical not-gonna-get-outta-bed level.
Perseverance, proven character and hope are brought about through trials. That is the consistent truth spoken throughout the sixty-six books of the bible. Pain has purpose. “Suffering provides the gym equipment on which my faith can be exercised,” says Joni Eareckson Tada. In her book Pain and
she writes, “God
uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for
sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens dependency on Christ for strength
each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the
stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away.” Providence
I don’t understand how people persevere apart from belief in a sovereign, loving God. How does the recovering alcoholic keep at it if he’s only trusting in a ‘higher power?’ If that higher power isn't Christ; didn't bleed for him, then what? If there’s no guarantee that ALL things are working for his good; then what?
In the context of a life lived in God; pain has purpose. So I can say through everything, “When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”