Can you hang on to hope in tough times?

There’s a good reason for the phrase “the troubles of Job.” The Biblical character of Job is a prime example of a good person suffering terrible things for an unknown reason.

Job is described as “perfect” and “upright,” yet God allowed disasters to rob him of his wealth, all his children, and his health. Even Job’s wife told him it was useless to hold on; her suggestion was that Job might as well give up; just curse God and die, she says. Encouraging woman, no?

If you’ve ever tried to put Job’s situation into modern terms, it creates a dismally bleak picture. Here’s what it would look like:

You’ve got the American Dream. Your business has done exceptionally well, and you’ve got enough stashed away so that you’ll never have to work again. Your family is happy and thriving. Your life seems charmed. You’ve got it made.

Then world unrest takes its toll and your business shrinks to a trickle. The stock market plunges, and your retirement kitty is suddenly gone. Suddenly, you’re faced with having to go back to work just to buy groceries, plus you haven’t been feeling well lately. One Sunday morning, your home burns to the ground while you’re at church; nothing is saved. The next week, your family is killed in a car crash. On the day of the funerals, your doctor gives you the results of your test; you have a disease that will slowly incapacitate you.

So … there is nothing left of your life or what you thought was your future. (Except a spouse who says you might as well give up and die.) Wouldn’t you be wondering why God is allowing all of this? Wouldn’t you be wondering why He doesn’t intervene? Wouldn’t you be wondering if He cares what’s happening? Might you be wondering if there even IS a God?

And Job?  He didn’t understand what was going on, either. But his response was “Even if God kills me, I’ll trust Him.”

Where does such trust and hope come from? Is it blind and foolish and misplaced?

Very few of us have gone through as much heartache as Job; yet, there is much that troubles our lives, many situations that look hopeless, heavy burdens under which we strain and stumble.

The psalmist says, again and again and again, God alone is our hope. He is our only help. He is the only one who can rescue us. He always loves us; always trust in him. And in spite of all the psalmist’s talk about enemies attacking and possibly killing him, friends deserting him, his weariness and wandering, his sadness and troubles, he says,

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
   for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
   my fortress where I will not be shaken.

I ask again, what’s the source of such hope? Job had his troubles, the most drastic that can befall any man or woman. We have our own troubles; large or small, they bring anguish to our lives. How is it possible to say so emphatically, I will not be shaken?

Thoughts on that, coming next week.

Scripture: Psalm 62:5-6 (NLT)

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