You Can Do Hard Things

“I also could speak as you do, If your soul were in my soul's place. I could heap up words against you, And shake my head at you; But I would strengthen you with my mouth, And the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.”

Job 16:4-5


Reading the book of Job a football analogy comes to mind, “football is a game played by 24 men desperately in need of rest being watched by thousands of people who are desperately in need of exercise.” If you have studied the book of Job much you have learned a lot about how not to speak to your friends when they are going through the trials of life. The Super Bowl is just about a week away and as we read the response of Job’s friends in his hour of need a term most people have heard comes to mind, “arm chair quarterback” to describe a person who sits in front of a tv yelling at the quarterback who is scrambling for his life being chased down by men twice their size and who doesn’t see the wide open receiver down field. You might know someone like this. You might be this person? An “arm chair quarterback” sees how wide open the receiver is on a given play and begins to yell and scream at television set and the player in question (remember the “arm chair” quarterback is yelling and screaming from his or her comfort chair in the safety and security of their own living room) for not making what appears to be in the “arm chair quarterbacks” mind a relatively simple play that almost any idiot (their term not mine) could make. It’s easy to critique others from the safety of the sidelines with a chicken wing in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other when we aren’t in the game nor in their shoes. The way some talk, they could easily accomplish what these professional athletes could not.

Job’s three friends are “arm chair quarterbacks” who believe Job is somehow deserving of the suffering he is going through. His friends are clueless that God is behind the suffering Job is experiencing but not for the reasons they believe. Their limited understanding of God came from observation not from experience. They knew things about God but Job knew God in a personal way. They are clueless that God was working in Job’s life as well as ours is to turn our messes into our message, and that message being that we have a God who majors in redemption and restoration and complete recovery! Nothing is impossible with God.

Job’s friends have a general knowledge that God judges the wicked and blesses the righteous but they have no idea that God does in fact allow bad things to happen to good people if the bad thing serves for His glory and their ultimate good. Job’s friends had no idea God was using the mess Job was facing to vindicate Job and God Himself as to why Job worships God in the first place. Remember that the devil accused God that the only reason Job worshipped God to begin with is that God blessed Job by prospering and protecting him. And the devil was sure if God would remove His hand of protection from Job’s life that Job would certainly cuss God to His face. The Bible says in all these things Job did not sin.

Keep this in mind today, loved one. The test you are in right now is for your testimony! The devil uses temptation in our lives to get us to give in and to take a step back, away from God. A test is given to us by God to strengthen us in our faith and to graduate us you might say into a deeper relationship with God where we know Him better and love Him more. You might be in the midst of a mess today and if you are, let me encourage you to look to Jesus. Jesus can relate to you like no one else can. Jesus faced His own mess head on in the midst of ridicule that makes Job’s friends appear kind in comparison. The Cross was a brutal bloody mess but three days later just as He said, Jesus rose again from the grave conquering sin and death in the process declaring the greatest message ever given to mankind to share. God can turn tragedy into triumph. Jesus can bring dead things to life if only we would place our hope and trust in Him. Thats the message the world needs to hear! There is hope in Jesus!

Everyone you know is either in the midst of a trial, coming out of one or being prepared by God’s grace to face one. Life is hard at times and we do well to remember the battles we each face in this life are much more difficult than what they appear. “Be kinder than necessary for everyone is facing some kind of battle” the little plaque reads. Learn the lessons of Job’s three friends failure. Don’t attempt to speak for God, rather, point people to God. God is more than capable of speaking for Himself, He has given us His Word. Open up the pages of your bible and remind those who are in the midst of trials, those who are going through struggles in this life that there remains an invitation from the One who knows how devastating these times can be and the toll they can have upon us. Be a good friend and who says, “Your mess is your message” if you will turn to God and not away. Invite your friends to take a step closer to Jesus and accept His invitation when He says…

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30


Michael Osthimer




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