I have been haunted by a comment posed by a friend. She said, after describing the absolute worst day of her life, that she clung to her faith through it all. “Where else would I turn?” she said. Where else would she turn?
It lead me to the true story of a very rich man, who had it all. I mean really, he had it all. He had more money than he knew what to do with, and more than that, he had steady income. Prosperity was endless, his business booming. He had an exquisite family; a lovely wife and a stable, mutually satisfying marriage. Each of his children was healthy, prosperous, and well-rounded. And his faith was alive and active. He was respected and praised around the globe. Watching him from the outside was like looking at perfection. And really, from the inside it was – even God said so. There is no denying that this dude was doing it all right and God honored him for it.
And then the horrible, no-good, VERY, VERY, VERY, bad day happened. Job lost e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Nothing was left, and when I say NOTHING, I really mean nothing. He lost all of his possessions, his family was killed (and violently at that). His business was stolen from under his nose. His wife turned from him and then to boot – He was struck with horrible pain and sickness that shunned him from his community. Job fell from the highest of highs to the bottom of the lowest of lows. Even his dearest friends came to accuse, to offer some explanation for this horrible, no-good, very bad day. As if an explanation, a predictable formula, could make it feel better or perhaps even remedy it. There had to be an explanation for this calamity. The comfortableness of those around him depended on it. Faith feels neat when we can fit into a box of formulas. Like Job’s friends, we think we need life’s tragedy to be avoidable and life’s grandeur to be attainable, right?
What if everything you called “blessing” was stripped from you? What if everything you held as “purpose” or “calling” was erased from your world? What if all the answers you sought were silent?
What would you do? Where would you turn?
Would you seek an explanation, cry out with demanding tears? Or give up and succumb to the weight of the hopelessness?
Life is full of adversity, I don’t need to tell you that. There is no way to avoid it, no way to get around it. Some destruction we cause ourselves, other times it just is. There is no formula to pray or deed to do to prevent trouble or make it go away faster. There just isn’t a guarantee like that. That is a microwavable faith and just when you think you’ve figured it out, the carpet gets pulled and you are faced with a choice:
Worship Him anyway or cling to the empty box you’ve put your faith into.
Job chose worship. Of course he was broken and hurting but he wasn’t wavering. With tears streaming down his face at the agony of his circumstances, Job stands and says of God boldly before His accusers:
“He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, At the boundary of light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble, And are astonished at His rebuke. He stirs up the sea with His power, And by His understanding He breaks up the storm. By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand.”
Faith is forged in the fires of adversity and struggle. It is molded and shaped by the sometimes strenuous activity of walking out the twists and turns of this life.
Real faith is visible in the messiness of trials. It is the shimmery part of celebrations just as much as it is the bloody part of struggle. Regardless of storm or sunshine, God remains. He is sovereign over both the dark and the light, He holds all of life in His hands. If we really stopped to look at all the woe, all the pain, all the suffering that we so desperately want to avoid we’d see that God is right there in the midst of it all. Faith is not the absence of struggle; faith is the rock to cling to in the midst of struggle. ~Tweet That!
If I may challenge you today, turn to your faith and worship through the terrible, horrible, no good days the same way you worship at the glorious, bountiful blessings. The mustard seed of your faith can only grow there, and not even the worst tragedies can take that from you, not ever.