When we think of a life being cut short we think of an untimely death, or perhaps some debilitating injury or disease. But I noticed a different form of life interruption today.
In the book of Job, Elihu says the following about those who do try to follow after God, those who are not engaged in open willful rebellion.
If troubles come upon them and they are enslaved and afflicted, he takes the trouble to show them the reason. He shows them their sins, for they have behaved proudly. He gets their attention and says they must turn away from evil. – Job 36:8-10
How does God show them the reason? How does he show them their sins? How does he get their attention?
But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity… Be on guard! Turn back from evil, for it was to prevent you from getting into a life of evil that God sent this suffering. – Job 36:15,21
I’ve always known that God allows suffering in our lives so that we change, but I’ve never seen it spelled out so clearly before.
God allows, even sends, suffering to interrupt our lives to effect change. Having what could potentially be a life of sin interrupted by God is blessing, not punishment.
Are you suffering?
Examine your life. Is God trying to get your attention? If so, please listen – and change.
Then take Elihu’s advice, which is pretty good in this instance.
Instead, glorify his mighty works, singing songs of praise. – Job 36:24
This echoes a verse from the New Testament.
Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Other translations say to be thankful “in all things”. Note that we are not asked to be thankful for all things, but in them. Praise to the one who is truly worthy changes our perspective and has the ability to restart an interrupted life – in the right direction.
Father, may I be quick to examine the circumstances of adversity, of suffering and trouble, to determine if they are a gift from you, or an attack from our enemy. If it is the former, please give me the grace to change – quickly. If the latter, then please give me the grace to stand up under it and come out on the other side still praising you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Restart your life. Jan