This series, written by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who is serving the Winnebago people of Nebraska, looks at the story of Job and helps us discover how to live a life of faith like him.
Need to start at the beginning? Here's week 1
Throughout most of his book, Job thinks that God is trying to kill him—literally. However, Job writes, “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” God is after a golden character, a mature Christian faith, a life marked by depth and compassion. So God takes strange and distasteful events, works them together and creates lives of beauty. The secret is understanding how it all works together. There are five ingredients:
1st ingredient is Shock: No one is fully prepared for that time when you get a call that something tragic has happened to your loved one. Or when you’re at the doctor’s office and he says the “C” word—cancer. When those things happen, it’s like jumping into a bitterly cold lake. When you jump in, immediately the shock to your system takes your breath away. After Job lost everything, he was in shock.
2nd ingredient is Sorrow: Whatever happened to the God who loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives? In chapter 23, when Job gives voice to his sorrow, he feels as though it’s falling on divine deaf ears. Job starts looking for God—but God is nowhere to be found. If Job is a true and worthy servant of God, why then is God evading him and ignoring him?
3rd ingredient is Struggle: Job says, “Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning” (Job 23:2). Why do we struggle with God? There are two reasons: #1, we doubt his wisdom. And therefore, #2, we want to be in control. Life is tough. You can let it beat you down and you can get down and stay down the rest of your life. But if you keep struggling like Job, you learn from your losses, you profit from your pain, and you advance from your adversity.
4th ingredient is Sanctification: Sanctification is God’s process of making us more like Jesus. Too often we think that God’s plan is to make us happy. I’m sorry to have to break the news to you, but that’s not the plan. The plan is to make us holy, to make us more like Jesus. Every problem has a purpose. We are transformed by our troubles. God specializes in bringing good out of bad.
5th ingredient is Service: God wants to take our greatest pain and turn it into our life’s proclamation. He wants to use our mess for a message. He wants to use our tests for a testimony. There’s a plan, a divine plan, a plan where all things are working for our good and the Father’s glory. The secret is understanding how it all works together.
This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News of Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth" [Job 19:25 NIV]