“Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:8-10, NKJV)
The flesh hates suffering. It will do anything necessary to preserve itself and avoid any discomfort. Fleshly religion will promise to it’s constituents that faithfulness will result in easily living, healthy lifestyle and great wealth. As a result of this sickness, poverty and trouble are seen as the result of weak faith or ungodly living. However, the account of Job proves that this is not the case.
Faithful Job shows us how to suffer righteously. He endured that loss of health, wealth and loved ones all in a day yet did not sin with his lips. This suffering was not easy for him, yet his victory is an example for to call to remembrance. What he patiently lost in his former days could not be compared to what he gained in his latter years.
“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” (Jas 5:11)
By the grace of God, we too, will find this to be true. For our present suffering is not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us. Our latter years – in the ages to come – shall be far better that the former years of this present evil world.
So, though there may be times when we have trouble finding the Lord; when we look here and there but He appears to be far off, we can find consolation knowing that He knows the way that we go and when our time of testing is complete we shall come forth as gold.
Trials and sufferings are a form of testing. They cause us to seek refuge…somewhere. Faith will always strive and struggle to climb atop that “great Rock in a weary land” (Isa 32:2) or find rest in it’s shadow. But trials can often obscure the place of refuge. We will be tempted to go to “Egypt” for safety or trust in chariots and princes. We will be tempted to compromise our integrity and righteousness in order to escape the immediate pain of rejection and persecution. However, God is not far from us.
Fight. Strive. Struggle. War a good warfare. Rise above the mist of false securities and temporary pleasures and seek the one true Savior. And when the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled you will come forth out of the fiery ordeal as refined, pure gold.
Suffering is good for us. Do not avoid it. Allow it to have it’s perfect work in you. Look to Jesus and endure the present suffering. Gold can only be refined through the fire.
-Brother Pat Woods