the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
When Job was confronted by God near the conclusion of his tribulation, he did not receive gentle words of encouragement. Instead, God forcefully proclaimed His own power and might. Now, the typical interpretation of the story is that Job was never given an explanation for the difficulties he faced. May I strongly suggest that this is not so. Job did in fact receive a reason for his trials and tribulations: like everything else in creation, Jobís experiences proclaimed the glory of God. Thus Godís recitation to Job of some of the things in His realm which proclaim His own glory.
We tend to forget the fact that one way Godís majesty is made evident is in His confounding the lives of men (Ex. 9:16, Deut. 32:39-43, 1 Sam. 2:4-10, Rev. 5:8- 14, 6:1-ff) Ė all the more so when it is His own people who face tribulation (Ps. 66:8-12, Is. 48:9-11, John 11:4, 2 Cor. 12:7-10, 1 Thess. 1:6-7). This is true whether we can see any purpose in it or not. We need to understand the point of Godís words to Job; Job in the midst of his tribulation, along with the other things God proclaimed as signs of His magnificence, was an expression of Godís power and glory. That was the purpose behind Jobís trials. God didnít say that he allowed calamity in Jobís life in order to produce patience and character. God didnít say that the purpose in the trial was to magnify Jobís weakness and proclaim Godís strength. No, the purpose was simply to manifest Godís omnipotence. And for the believer that is reason enough for joy. Indeed, it is the best reason for joy.
Of course, on this side of the cross we have the benefit of Paulís letter to the church in Rome. That being the case, we know that even when the purpose behind calamity is to manifest Godís might, we still benefit personally. Romans 8:28-29:And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Thus Christís elect can rest assured that every trial and tribulation is being used by God to form us and shape us according to His sonís image. At times, this is difficult to accept, in reality impossible to accept except by faith. Nevertheless, it is true and therefore a reason for joy in trials.
No one ever said that it was easy to ďcount it all joy when you fall into various trials.Ē Yet as we come to understand the reasons for joy in trials our willingness to submit to this truth should increase. At the very least it will assure us that we serve a God who loves us enough to show us how reasonable it really is to have joy in the midst of trials