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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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This past weekend, we kicked off our new five-week teaching series, “Why?: A Study Through the Book of Job.” In this study of Job 1, Pastor Doug explored one of the most enduring, important, and relevant questions humanity faces: Why do bad things happen? We were also joined by Pastor Joel Sonnenberg from our King’s Kids Ministry who discussed his story and how the Lord showed up in his suffering.
Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the teaching and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
Your Story Is Full of God’s Blessings (Job 1:1–5): Job was the greatest of all the men of the east. He was widely respected, greatly admired, and a man who feared God. He prayed for his kids, making offerings and sacrifices daily for their (and his) sins. He was a wealthy man with a big family, good health, and a great joy. Everyone wanted to be Job.
Have you ever wanted someone else’s life? Has someone else ever wanted yours? Jealousy is a dangerous game and a slippery slope. In one day, you can go from everyone wanting to be you to no one wanting to be you. Why? Because it’s all circumstantial. If the circumstances of your life aren’t perfect, people will stop wanting to be you and vice versa. That’s the problem we encounter when we judge a person’s life based on their circumstances.
Paul was full of peace even in the midst of horrible trials and pain. The same goes for Peter and the other apostles. Experiences and circumstances don’t necessarily show the true condition of a person’s life, nor do they necessarily show the blessings of God in a person’s life. Paul was immensely blessed and full of contentment despite awful circumstances. Keep this in mind as you look at the lives of others and as you look at your own life.
Your Story Has a Backstory (Job 1:6–12): The backstory of Job’s woes, of his trials and tribulations, was a conversation between God and Satan, the adversary. Satan claimed that if the Lord removed His hand of blessing upon Job's life, then this man of complete integrity would curse God to His face. This is what led to the season of suffering in the life of Job.
We don’t always know our backstory. We don’t always know the circumstances that lead to prosperous or painful seasons in our lives. We don’t always know how the pieces fit together to bring us to where we are. And we don’t have to. Job didn’t. The question then becomes what will we do when we suffer and don’t understand why. What did Job do? Did Job choose to trust God or deny him?
Throughout this book, Job spends all his time trying to figure out why? When we can’t see or perceive the reason for our affliction, will we choose to trust? Did Job choose to trust?
We must always remember that trials are God’s vote of confidence in us. In our own trials, like Job, we do not always have the insight of the backstory. We can end up walking blind, unaware. And sometimes, the answers will never come. But God is still in control and still working for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
The truth is that everybody has a past, a backstory, that shapes their life. In fact, we have many backstories that have brought us to where we are today. The question is which one are we telling ourselves? Which story is running you now? Is it simply the one of tragedy or are you clinging to the work of the Lord and the season that brought you to Him? Sometimes we become addicted to retelling our story of pain until it becomes a mental prison, preventing us from fulfilling our God-given potential. We must avoid getting to this place at all costs. This place leads to intense bitterness. Instead, we need to learn to experience contentment in knowing Jesus, in having Him as our shepherd, in having His Spirit within us. If we have Him, we have all we need to live a joyful and satisfying life, regardless of our circumstances.
Your Story Has a Tragedy (Job 1:13–19): In the span of a few minutes, Job went from being the man everyone wanted to be to the man no one wanted to be. Like dominoes, everything came tumbling down in his world.
If you are reading this, chances are you’ve experienced tragedy at some point in your life. If you haven’t, there’s a very high probability that you will at some point in the future. There is not a single person who has ever lived whose life was not affected by tragedy, trials, tribulations, difficult seasons, suffering, grief, and darkness. Suffering and tragedy are as much a part of the human experience as breathing is. It is all a product of man's fall, when sin entered this world. How do we respond when tragedy strikes? How have you responded? How will you resolve to respond when the next tragedy strikes your life? Will you worship the Lord and or will you curse Him?
If You Trust God as the Author of Your Story, You Can Worship in Tragedy (Job 1:20–22): Job had cultivated gratitude and faith in his heart all along. He was ready for the storm when it came. This is something we need to learn well and put into practice. Did you know that the worst time to train for a marathon is in the middle of a marathon? In order to be ready to face the challenges of a marathon, the toll it takes on the body, the endurance required to make it to the finish line, you must train for months in advance. Otherwise, you won’t finish well—and you may not finish at all.
Similarly, if you wait until the trials of life fall upon you to strengthen your prayer and devotional life, if you wait for the storm to begin preparing for it, you may end up being swallowed by the storm. Job was able to worship the Lord in the aftermath of intense tragedy because worship was his habit. He was a man of integrity and blamelessness because he practiced integrity and endeavored to live blamelessly before the Lord continually. He was a man who offered up all he had to the Lord and was careful to flee evil and worship daily. His dedication to worshiping the Lord on the mountaintop prepared him to worship in the valley.
You see, worship is not preoccupied with why but with Who. Worship is the acknowledgement of who God is and the rightful praise, honor, and devotion He deserves regardless of our present circumstance. Job understood this and he was prepared for it. Are you? Where is your heart today? Will you find yourself in a posture of worship if tragedy strikes today because you have been practicing that posture in the good times?
Quote to Remember: If we believe in God only when He is doing great things for us, we are not really serving, loving, or worshiping Him . . . we are only using Him.—Pastor Doug Sauder
Looking to get a more in-depth and deeper understanding of this 4,000-year-old story? Check out this week’s featured article that provides context and background for the Book of Job. Find out the date, purpose, and key themes of the book by clicking here.
Join us this Wednesday as Pastor Joel Sonnenberg continues the discussion about suffering and the themes of Job 1. Get a more in-depth analysis and hear Pastor Joel’s powerful testimony.
In week two of our study through Job, Pastor David Guzik, renowned Bible teacher, author, and creator of some of the most widely used Bible commentaries, will join us as we dive into Job 2 and 3. In this message, we’ll see Job deal with the question “Where do I go from here?”. Discover how to deal with pain, suffering, loss, grief, and how to wrestle with why in a healthy, biblical way.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.