{PASTORS WEEK} Things just can’t get any worse….

Written by: Rev. Bob Wright

Have you ever been in the midst of a situation that you just thought, “things can’t get worse” – and then they got worse?

Our honeymoon was like that for us.

When Nancy and I got married, neither of us really had any time off – I had just started a job at a church and Nancy had just gotten employed at a local hospital – and so we promised ourselves that we would have a real honeymoon 1 year later. So we got married and had a lovely weekend with friends and family and then went to work. 1 year later we booked a trip to Venezuela, because believe it or not, it was cheaper to go there than to someplace closer.

And so began our nightmare….

What we hadn’t expected in our planning was that Nancy would get pregnant during our first year of marriage and so by the time we were to leave, Nancy was very pregnant!
Then the airlines lost our luggage for 4 days and all we had to wear in the sweltering heat was our jeans and a sweatshirt. I was able to buy a pair of shorts, but Nancy in her condition really couldn’t find much of anything until another kind passenger took pity on her and loaned her a sundress that somehow fit her.

When they did finally find our luggage – we were so eager to enjoy the good weather that we got sunstroke the first day, which made us both violently ill – and then of course we were so badly sunburned that we were unable to go out anywhere in the sun. To top things off on the way to the airport we discovered that the film in our camera hadn’t been threaded right and so we had no photos of our time and those are just a few of the highlights….

When we landed back in Toronto, we were so done with our vacation that I just threw our luggage into the trunk and told myself I would never leave the continent again and we began driving home – 8 hours north!
– As if to add insult to injury though, on the way home we blew a tire, and since we didn’t own a credit card and in those days and the world hadn’t invented bank machines – we had to wait until the next morning for the bank to open for us to get money to pay for the towing and the tire before anyone would look at our car – and of course where were we going to stay without cash!

We did eventually find someone to take us in, but I remember lying in their guestroom, wondering where God had gone. The other people on the trip all seemed to have had a wonderful time, and from what we could tell most of them were not even interested in following Jesus – and here we were suffering one calamity after another. It was almost as though someone was picking on us!

That was Job’s dilemma.

I suspect most of you know the story. He was God’s favorite. Job loved God deeply. He worshipped him regularly. His life was blessed in every way it seemed and everything he did seemed to have the favor of God upon it.

And then everything changed.

The devil came into God’s presence one day and challenged God that Job wouldn’t serve him so faithfully if God didn’t look after him so well. What followed is a moment that has always troubled me.

God said, Have at him….and with that God removed for a moment the divine protection he had put around Job’s life. The devil had access to attack everything in his life, but he couldn’t take his life. Ouch.

In the course of a short time Job lost his children, his wealth, and his health. Even his wife and his 4 most trusted friends turned on him because they were convinced that he had some hidden or secret sin that God is punishing – so yes, he lost his reputation too.
And Job is left sitting in an ash heap trying to make sense of his life, trying to figure out where God went and why He is doing what He has done…

And I have always related to Job’s words in Job 23:3-5,
“If only I knew where to find him…. I would find out what he would answer me and consider what he would say”.

READ: If God would just tell me why I am in this situation – then I could at least make some sense of this mess!

Have you been there?

I heard Jeff Johnston recently say “Our perception of our problems is often different than God’s purpose for our problems”.

The sad reality is that God often doesn’t reveal to us the real reason for our struggles until long after the trial is over and sometimes we just never know why God allowed those things to happen.

But I am impressed by Job’s response to all of his trouble. In the midst of the chaos of his life – he realizes that the struggles he has faced are a test of his faith, and so he boldly says in Job 23:10 -12, “But he knows the way that I take: when he has tested me I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”

In the midst of the crises of his life Job by faith still believed that God was watching over his life, and that ultimately God would look after him if He continued to honor Him and so he did. And if you know the end of the story, then you know that God restored his favor on Job’s life when the trial was over.

I have to be honest – Job’s trust put’s me to shame! I know that people always associate Job’s name with patience, but to me, He is THE MAN when it comes to faith! I’m not sure if I lost all that he lost if I would be able to trust God the way he did because I know how quickly I struggle when life seems to turn against me.

But here is what I have discovered after 48 years of living and 27 years of ministry and marriage – that no matter where you are or what you are going through, God always knows where we are – He never loses sight of us, and He helps us when we trust Him.

We may not always understand why troubles come, but we can have confidence that God will see us through if we hold onto faith and keep doing what He has called us to do!

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About Pastor Bob:
Bob Wright is a pastor from Brampton, Ontario. God has blessed him with 4 amazing boys and a beautiful wife and a great church!

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