“Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.”
Job countered his friend’s shallow theology with a powerful fact he was learning – God doesn’t have to get our permission to allow adversity in our lives! He said it’s a fool’s pursuit to try to tell God what He can and cannot do.
Job tells Zophar in essence, “If I could, I would insist that God would stop. But I cannot tell God what to do. I’ve asked Him to stop but He just does what He wants. If I could avoid the pain I would, trust me. I would never knowingly do anything to bring this upon my family. If I knew what I was doing wrong, I would’ve changed it a long time ago. This pain that I’m having is simply unavoidable. It’s in the path of duty. It’s in my path of obedience.”
Pain, for godly people, is sometimes unavoidable. Caution teaches us not do things that cause pain, and that’s wise. But, when pain comes in the path of obedience you just have to plow on. Sometimes, part of the Father’s plan includes loss and difficulty.
If we try to avoid everything that’s painful or hard we can’t answer God’s calling. If you say, “I can’t get up early because I need my sleep, I can’t go out and knock on a door for Jesus because I need my dignity, I can’t have a large family because I can’t afford that many children”, then we misunderstand excellence. Anything good takes effort. Pain experienced in the path of duty is something that shifts our focus to God’s power and gets it off ourselves.
It is easy to get irrational during times of grief. That is certainly understandable. But if we want to change how we feel and what we do, we need to change our thinking. Because many people have grown up believing that they are at the mercy of events and emotions, it’s little wonder they develop negative thoughts. Grieving people need to challenge negative thoughts with the Word of God and make a realistic assessment of the situation. You do not need to see everything as good, but you do need to see things as working for a good purpose (Romans 8:28).
In my life I have noticed that saying scriptural affirmations helps me maintain mental and emotional balance. Speaking the word of God fosters faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10:14). Yes, I am really saying to speak (or play it from one of those Bible apps) the Bible out loud. You will be amazed at the difference it makes. Do it today!