Have you ever been so pushed out that it physically left you in shock or traumatized? I have been…Read Job 1:1-22. Think of it – a man that God could say was blameless and upright, fearing Him and turning away from evil. That was Job. He was a successful sheep rancher, had foreign interests (camels were for long-distance trading caravans, as were donkeys) that were doing well for him, a successful farmer of bulk crops (that’s what oxen do – plow fields for grain or similar crops), and he had a lot of servants to take care of his vast empire. He had a great family, seven sons and three daughters. And his children were close, often each going over to the others home for a dinner party and the fellowship that comes from that. Job really had it all! Unfortunately, that meant he attracted some attention…the wrong kind.
It seems that Satan, mankind’s most dangerous and mortal enemy, had been surveying Job. Oh I know how the verse reads, it seems like God brought job to Satan’s attention, but there is a tell for careful readers of the passage here. Satan betrays himself and his attempted actions in Job 1:10. He says, “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?” Now how would he know that…unless he had already been up to some skulduggery and failed at the attempt by the sound of this. Apparently, Satan, as powerful as he is, was unable to get through that hedge of protection – until God allowed it (Job 1:12).
Here began Job’s descent into pain and loss. He had a great attitude (Job 1:20-22) about it, but think of the magnitude of his loss. He lost EVERYTHING in the space of about 5 minutes. When you consider the rapidity and the completeness of his loss, you have to be dumbfounded at its magnitude. It certainly displays Satan’s ire at humans in no uncertain terms. To lose that much that fast…it’s difficult to conceive.
There is something else that you should be getting here. Who gave the permission for this to happen?
But why? The answer to that question may surprise you. God did this to make Job more perfect (Job 42:10-17). And the same thing happens to us as Christians. And that was my problem…
Please understand that I have no ax to grind with my Pentecostal and Charismatic brethren per se. However, that was the place I learned as a new Christian, that things should always go well for a Christian. Like the old Coca-Cola commercial, things were supposed to “go better with Jesus.” Then the trials started to show up in my life, and when they did, it nearly stole my life from me. I found myself asking that very famous question, “But why?” Scripture has an answer.
James 1:2 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Trials produce something in us. James calls it endurance, the ability to stay the course. Peter talks about this too in his first letter to the churches. In 1 Pet. 4:12-13, He says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” Peter goes on to say that it demonstrates our faithfulness to Him if we are patient and endure trials (1 Pet. 4:14-19). In fact, Paul calls these often incredibly trying trials in our lives “momentary light affliction” (2 Cor. 4:17), and he tells us that it is producing in us an “eternal weight of glory” that is far beyond anything we could imagine or find anything to compare. It is making us HOLY so that we may see God. That process is named sanctification, and Peter calls it the salvation of our souls (as opposed to justification, the redemption and making alive of our spirits by God).
When I consider that, maybe being shattered isn’t all that bad.