I read the book of Job these past couple of weeks during my morning Bible study and devotions. Some things in that book have caused me to stop and ponder what the meaning behind it is and how does it apply to my own life. Though I've read Job many times and have heard many sermons about it, I find that different passages speak more to me than that did earlier in my life - even last year.
After Job's friends, and Job himself, spend what is obviously countless hours contemplating, criticizing, casting blame - God Himself speaks:
"Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm." Job 38:1 (NIV)
In chapter 40 verse 6 we again read, "Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:" (NIV)
Do you see what I see? Job's life was stormy for a while. He'd lived as righteous a life as he could and, in fact, God told Satan to consider Job. He said, "There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." Job 1:8 (NIV)
Satan asked (he can do nothing without God's permission - did you know that?) for permission to test Job and his devotion to God. He said, "But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." Job 1:11 (NIV)
God gave His permission but He did not allow Satan to kill Job.
Job lost everything he had, except for his life, and lived that stormy life for a time. Even his wife begged him to just curse God and die. (Job 2:9)
But Job trusted God through the storm, and God spoke to him "out of the storm." He remained faithful to the Lord and passed the test through which Satan (not God) put him. And God gave to Job more abundantly than he could ever have imagined.
So from what did I draw my own encouragement?
I will go through storms - times in which I might think that God is testing me or that make me think He's abandoned me. But if I remain faithful and continue to trust and obey, I'll hear God speak out of the storm. The reward will be so much greater than what I think I've had to give up.
I pray you draw encouragement from God's Word and His faithfulness today.