If you have ever heard the story of Job, you know that Job had to face much adversity in his life. But in order to understand the significance of this story, we must first look at Job’s life before he faced tragedy. Job 1:2-3 says, “There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.” (ESV) God allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to tempt Job to lose his faith in God. Job lost his property and children, his animals, and his health. Despite all this, Job responded, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21, ESV)
The big question many people ask when looking at the story of Job is why God allowed Satan to take these things from Job. Is it really fair that Job would be so faithful, yet God would just allow his life to fall apart in this matter? Maybe this sounds like your life. You feel as if you are faithful to God, yet things in your life continue to fall apart. Maybe life is taking its toll on you. Take heart, this happened to Job as well, yet he stayed in faith. One who has experienced a similar situation is left to ask, “How did Job keep his faith despite his fallen circumstances?”
The answer to this question is revealed in where Job placed his joy. Job did not place the stability of his joy in things that are unstable. Job didn’t receive his joy from his oxen, his servants, his barn, his health, or even from his family! The joy of the LORD was his strength, and all of these extra things were added to him. So when something was taken away from him, Job did not lose his stability, because his stability was placed in the Lord. God knew this about Job, which was why He allowed Satan to tempt him. God knew that no matter what Satan took away from Job, as long as he had his life (See Job 2:6), he would have joy in Himself. God cares more about changing your circumstances than He does about changing you. That’s not to say that God doesn’t care about your circumstances, but that your joy should not rely on them.
When we put our reliance for joy in things of this world, we are vulnerable to the attacks of Satan to steal, kill, and destroy our joy. But when we discover and live out our joy in the Cross, Satan is unable to overcome it. This is why Nehemiah proclaimed for times of trouble, “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10, ESV)
The world has a way of breaking us down and sucking us in. No matter how hard we try, sin always seems to end up seeping into the better part of our lives. The answer to this frustration is found only in the Cross of Christ.
The Cross isn’t new, but it is always fresh. Although Jesus told many stories of grace, Jesus is never recorded saying the word “grace” in the Bible, because grace is not to be taught; the Gospel is to be taught and the grace of its message is to be experienced. Grace cannot be explained; it must be experienced. The Gospel is not an initiation; it is fuel for our service. As servants of God, we are not called to just receive grace, but to live it out!
As our weakness increases, God’s grace is able to fill even more space. Romans 5:20 says, “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.” (NLT) When you fall flat on your face, are you frustrated by your performance or even more overwhelmed by God’s grace? 2 Corinthians 12:9 says,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (NIV) But we don’t often feel this way.
We will never be self-sufficient. But when we turn to the masters of this world as our source of sufficiency, they fail to offer any help, because our empty voids are not filled in created things, but only in the Creator Himself. Despite our imperfections and rebellion, God is perfect in His pursuit and restoration. The Good News is, despite our inevitable inconsistency, God is forever consistent. We don’t have to keep a consistent hold on perfection because the grace of God keeps a consistent hold on us. This is why in the next verse (2 Corinthians 12:10), Paul proclaims, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NIV)
Christianity isn’t about getting stronger or even doing better. Christianity is about realizing more and more how weak you really are and how strong God is through your weaknesses. Welcome to Christian growth. When we come to the realization that we are nothing by ourselves, we discover through the Gospel that we are everything in Christ.
Hunter Kallay, author of "Plug in Your Life." He is a Christian leader and speaker.