Posts Tagged ‘Job’

A Great Day to be Alive

Monday, April 16th, 2018


When you’re living a life of suffering with no end in sight, it’s hard to feel alive. The suffering sucks the life out of you so that you have to rely on God to get through your daily tasks. Strangely, during the past three years of non-stop suffering, I have accomplished more for God’s kingdom than all the rest of my life combined. Maybe it’s because God’s power is perfected in weakness, and the only way to be filled with His power is to surrender when we have nothing left.

This is one reason why suffering is something to rejoice in the midst of, not for the pain itself, but for the results it brings. Endurance and the power of God are only doled out to those who tenaciously cling to God to the death. Or to the living death, which is worse than death because in heaven at least Christ would wipe away every tear from our eyes and there would be no more suffering.

Job felt that way. He sat in the ashes, wailing in horror and sadness, wondering why God had seemingly abandoned him. Why was he born just to suffer?

“It is one thing to bear a sudden tragedy. It is quite another to suffer its pain for weeks and months and even years afterward.” – John Piper

God is full of endless delights, either as we worship Him through song in the midst of suffering to feel His tangible presence, or in His turning events around suddenly in a single day. With Job, God showed up and not only healed him but gave him back twice as much as he had before. He lived the rest of his life in peace and joy, having experienced God in a way few have.

And God was vindicated. Satan lost. God showed Satan that there are some of us—including me—that love God not for what He can give to us but for who He is. He will make all things right in the end and not a single tear goes unnoticed by God. All of our days are written in a book (Psalm 139:16), and if we suffer well, the book that has our name on it in the library of heaven will forever be a slap in Satan’s face that God was worthy to serve even when circumstances appeared to be dark with no way out.


So when my daughter walked across a parking lot the other day, she exclaimed with arms extended in the sunshine, “Look, Mom! It’s a great day to be alive!” I stopped and looked at her.

“I guess it is!” I laughed. I remembered a cupcake stand I saw at the mall that my daughter had never seen. I knew she would love the cupcake display, so I asked her, “Do you want to get a cupcake?”

“Sure, Mom!” she said as she rolled down the windows in the car, her hair flying in all directions. I rolled down my own window and shouted, “It’s great to be alive. Woohoo! We’re really living it up today!”


After choosing a cupcake and eating it, we drove to the car wash. My daughter wanted to snap selfies during the car wash and told me what a great day she had when we got home.

I guess my point is that you can still feel alive even in a seemingly hopeless situation. With God all things are possible. Even though we might suffer longer than we would prefer, God is bringing about something beautiful out of our tragedy that will be read by generations to come. Don’t lose hope.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

Job Unit Study

Friday, October 3rd, 2014


For our Job Unit Study, we re-enacted the book of Job and drew pictures of his suffering. But to really understand the book of Job, you must go through hardship yourself. Until you go through a situation where you’re not sure if you will survive, when the pain lingers on and on, and yet you cling to God through it all–only then can you truly “get” this book. Because, you see, the whole point of suffering is burning off the carnal to make room for the intense presence of God.

Yes, God showed up at the end of the book of Job, and Job said, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen You.” (Job 42:5) Imagine talking to God audibly and having God Himself defend you in front of your friends, claiming that you were innocent the whole time? Imagine proving to Satan and the hosts of demons that no matter what hell on earth you have to endure, you will cling to God, so help you God? How precious is that to God–how much exquisite glory does God get when you have nothing, and yet you fling yourself onto God over and over until God finally shows up… And then, when the gut-wrenching sobs subside, you drink in the Spirit.

The Story of Job in Song

When I heard this beautiful song about Job, I could tell that the musician (Todd Smith) truly understood. When Job raises his hands to God in praise after all he’s been through, tears streamed down my face.

Drawings from the Book of Job

My children drew pictures of Job. This first one illustrates the misfortunes of Job that befell him so suddenly in one day. One disaster upon another befell him, so that before the previous messenger was finished speaking, another messenger had more bad news. When it rains, it pours. Read about Job’s loss of possessions and the death of his children in Job, chapter 1.


My other three children drew pictures of Job sitting on an ash heap, miserable, scraping himself with pottery. My daughter’s picture is at the top of this post. The other two are below:


Here are Job’s so-called friends, peeking around the corner and falsely accusing him of wrongdoing. God calls Job righteous not only at the beginning, but also at the end.

the-story-of-jobRe-tell the Story of Job

Have your kids narrate or re-tell the story of Job. They might ask you hard questions, and you will have a great discussion that will impact the rest of their lives. They might also want to write a summary of the story in a Bible journal, and what the life of Job teaches them about suffering.

Here is a re-telling of the story of Job, in a song by Michael Card:

Screaming in anguish is not sin.

Jesus screamed in anguish, and He was God. Screaming in anguish is not sin. So many Christians have falsely accused other believers who have a deep walk with God as sinning because they are groaning under the weight of agony. God never reprimands Job for his sorrow. Job cried out God-ward and was soon filled with the presence of God.

Dramatize the Story of Job

My children re-enacted the story of Job on the dirt pile at the back of our house, and our filmed version is found exclusively inside the Unit Study Treasure Vault. But I found this other version that can help you to re-enact the story:

After Suffering: Filling of the Spirit

How do you feel at the end of suffering when God has filled you with His presence? Indescribable! This song includes a lot of references to the book of Job, so I wanted to end with this song:

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Lament in Scripture

Monday, October 22nd, 2012


“The most precious thing we have to offer is what hurts us the most.” – Michael Card

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” – Psalm 51:17

“There is no true worship without wilderness.” – Michael Card

The book of Lamentations is a funeral dirge (poetic music) written about the fall of Jerusalem. It is included in the Bible as the inspired Word of God because sorrow directed towards God is accepted by God as worship.

In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah is thrown into the bottom of a muddy well, left to starve, sitting among his own refuse. While in this reeking, dark hole in the ground, Jeremiah bursts out,

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

In the middle of horrible muck with no hope, when his eyes were red and raw with crying, he remembered the faithfulness of God because of His divine presence. Maybe God’s tangible presence can only be found in such dire circumstances, which is why the people with the deepest faith are the ones who have suffered the most.

God accepted Job’s sorrow, and He stated that Job had not sinned in his despair directed towards the Lord. The questioning of God, the crying, the screaming—the rage even—was accepted by God. God declared Job to be right in what he said. (Job 42:7-8)

The majority of Psalms are laments which have sorrow in them directed towards God. This is our Psalter, God’s approved worship manual. God drinks it in as a sacrifice on our part, to pursue Him despite His crushing us through the trials He allows in our lives. In that deep sorrow, we press into God, and God shows up because we have nothing left but God. All of the laments in the Psalms (with only one exception) have a “but God” statement at the end. In other words, “Why are you downcast, oh my soul?” is followed by more and more sorrow poured out as an offering to God. At the end, in the last verse or two, “but God” is faithful and will come through for me in the end. This is the formula for this style of Psalm, to give us an example of how emptying ourselves towards God enables Him to show up and fill us in greater measure than we ever dreamed possible.

Every Christian who has gone through deep suffering knows exactly what I’m saying. This understanding brings comfort to the soul like a parched ground receiving life-giving water. Every time in my life that I have thrown myself towards God in the middle of sorrow, over and over again for days or weeks or even months, the end result is the filling of the Spirit, the showing up of God. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8) I have tasted the intense presence of God, and whenever I think back to those times, tears stream down my face because I yearn for God’s presence more than life itself. I would do anything for more of God.

A friend of Michael Card was pinned down under some building rubble, crippling him for life. In the middle of the excruciating pain during which he had no pain killer, while he was waiting for help to arrive and to dig him out—he felt the tangible presence of God. Time was inconsequential, he said. It could have been 5 minutes or 5 hours. It didn’t matter. The presence of God was exquisite. When the workers arrived, he felt the tangible presence of God leaving, and he cried out, “Please don’t leave!! You don’t have to heal me. Just… please don’t leave…”