“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him,” (Job 13:15a, NIV)
I looked around the procedure room and sighed.
“But I’m so young.”
“I’m relatively healthy, I shouldn’t have to deal with this.”
“I’m just starting my family; this can’t be happening.”
I met with a friend during my dark days of being diagnosed with a debilitating illness, as anxiety tried to take root and despair threatened my horizon. She had walked a similar road, dealing with agonizing decisions about treatment plans and medications that had many side effects directly impacting quality of life. She spoke confidently as she patted me on the arm, “you can trust God with the quantity and quality of your days.”
This was something I had never considered before. Yes, I know God is in control of my time on this earth; He knew the exact moment I was to be born and the exact moment He will bring me home.
But I had never truly considered His care and love over the quality of my days.
Days when His strength becomes my weakness. Days when I have to take medications or have procedures. Days when I suffer from symptoms of a disease I never wanted. But because suffering has a purpose, there is also a promise. These are things I know, but hard to live out.
The book of Job was likely one of the first dated books of the Bible, sovereignly placed to show us the importance of how Christians should handle suffering. To show us suffering will come.
I often wonder about Job and the things that went through his mind. I feel like we get a good picture when he questioned God in Job 10:2,3 (ESV): “I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me, Does it seem good to you to oppress, to despise the work of your hands and favor the designs of the wicked?”
While he was writhing around in significant physical pain from boils on his skin, did he wonder, God what will happen? Will I ever be free from pain? Is this what you have called me to? Why?
Yet we read all throughout Job he has a sure, steadfast hope in God. He goes to Him first at every turn. He spurns out all his questions, his agony, and his pain straight to His father. That is a revolutionary concept to me, the amount of trust that Job had in the goodness of God, while in the midst of complete emotional and physical turmoil.
“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal,” (Isaiah 26:4, NIV). In Hebrew, the word for trust here is bittachon, which means “to lean on, feel safe, or confident.” This comes down to an act of the will: when I am trusting God, I am trusting His care and provision over my hopes, desires, dreams.
I am trusting His will over my life.
No, I am not in control of how difficult my days are or how long my dark night may last, but He is. And He is holding me.
Although God did not answer Job’s question of why, He revealed himself to Job, as He does so often with us when we seek Him. Once Job saw God intimately, his questions fell by the wayside. He no longer needed answers. I’ll admit, this is hard for me. I want answers and I want a quick fix, a “microwave God.”
But here, I can learn a deep lesson on trust. In chapter 42, Job submitted himself to God’s sovereignty and wisdom, and realized His will was more important than his own desires. Job trusted God in the midst of unrelenting painful physical and emotional circumstances.
He can be trusted with my dark days, too…the quality and quantity of all my days.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that in the midst of suffering and pain, we can know You better as a result. Thank You for your sovereign provision for all that we need in our times of distress. Help us to be honest with You, trust Your goodness, and humble ourselves before You while we wait out our storms in life.
Personal: Do you know God that intimately in the face of your pain? Do you trust His sovereignty and plan, regardless of your desires? Often in my distress, I turn to others before I run to God and can’t find the comfort I truly seek. I am growing more into realizing He is in control of my circumstances, my dark days, my good days, and I can trust His good plan every step of the way.
When I lean into Christ during my hard times, I find His presence, and that’s all I ever needed to begin with.
I don’t always know His plan or receive answers, but I know that in the end 2 Corinthians 4:17 says “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”