Worst-case scenario (Prayer Devotional for the week of August 11, 2013)

Imagine relaxing at home one evening watching the news, and you receive a call out-of-the-blue from your boss. Your boss says that there was a hostile takeover of your company and you are being laid off, effective immediately. In the background, the newscaster reports that the stock market closed at a record low, and your retirement plan is now worthless. Meanwhile, a neighbor knocks on the door to let you know that a tree branch just fell onto your car and totaled it. While you are talking, a text message buzzes with news from the vet that your dog died. Then, the police show up to let you know that several family members have been killed in a terrible wreck. How would you react to such a horrible chain of events?

A similarly tragic tale unfolds in Job 1:13-19. Job was devastated with grief by all that happened, but v. 22 reveals that he did not disrespect or blame God for his plight. Things got even worse for poor ol’ Job. He became physically ill, and even his wife thumbed her nose at him. He stood his ground, though, and Job 2:10 says again that he did not mouth off about God.

Three of Job’s friends to came to visit him. At first, they sat with him quietly for moral support, but one by one, they became tired of the pity party. They took turns giving Job some so-called advice about his predicament, and it boiled down to his fault. They suggested that surely, he must have sinned against God, or perhaps it was even his children’s sin that led to their untimely demise. Job did not take the criticism lightly, and he pleaded his case and begged for answers from God.

Job’s story is a worst-case scenario that I hope none of us ever experience. You can read more to find out how it ends, but suffice it to say that Job learned a thing or two about trusting God. There is a lot that we could learn from his situation, as well. How we respond in times of trouble can communicate volumes about our faith. Are we critical, complaining and ranting about how the world is always against us? Do we blame others for our “bad luck” and vow to get even someday? Do we listen to the naysayers and turn our backs on God? God is not daunted by our questions, frustrations or fears. Sometimes, though, what God wants to teach us isn’t just about the solution to our problems. It’s about the process in getting us there.

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