The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
We cannot claim to have strong faith in God till it’s tested
“Blessed be your name when the sun’s shining down on me; when the world’s all as it should be, blessed be your name. Blessed be your name on the road marked with suffering; though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be your name.” — Matt Redman’s song “Blessed Be Your Name”
Job is the first of the poetic books in the Hebrew Bible and is believed to be the first written book of Scriptures. It tells the astounding story of a righteous man who was tested extensively and did not lose faith in God. It is a gripping story of loss and prosperity and offers a vast theological treatise about enduring faith and God’s sovereignty.
Even though some believe the book’s story to be an allegory, the prophet Ezekiel and the apostle James in the New Testament mention Job as a historical figure.
The first chapter of the book sets the stage. Job is a rich and blessed man who loves God with all his heart and obeys his commandments. The scene changes to a conversation between God and Satan, where the fallen angel claims Job only trusted God because he was wealthy and prosperous.
And thus, Job’s trials began. For the following 42 chapters, we witness Job tested in every way. He lost all his children and all his possessions. His friends accused him. Painful sores covered his body, and his wife told him to curse God and die.
Through it all, Job’s response tells the reader he was convinced of two absolutes: his innocence and God’s sovereignty. Even though he felt overwhelmingly depressed, he remained faithful.
While many tried to convince Job that God had abandoned him, his humility and trust in God’s unchanging faithfulness and limitless might paved the way to God’s final response: God rebuked his friends, and the drama ended with Job’s wealth, health and happiness restored.
Is God still good, even when the worst happens?
The question has inevitably pierced the hearts of believers tested by prolonged trials through the ages, and the answer, I believe, paves the way to measure the steadfastness of one’s faith.
Earlier in February, I talked to podcaster and Bible teacher Misty Phillip about her Bible study “The Struggle is Real, but So is God.”
During our conversation, Phillip recounted her family’s many trials, including losing her baby boy, stillborn after years of infertility and miscarriages. There were years of overwhelming loss and hardships as Phillip and her husband cared for his parents with terminal brain tumors and the ongoing care of a special needs son.
As Phillip described the funeral of their stillborn baby, a solemn moment gripped my heart: The family held hands to say goodbye to their son while singing Matt Redman’s song, “Blessed Be Your Name.” Friends and family who had come to minister to the grieving family left the funeral encouraged by their steadfast courage and faith.
This trial and many others brought the Phillips closer to God. Instead of cursing their maker, they chose to believe in his faithfulness and purpose in the valleys. And today, as she looks back, Phillip can testify how her response to life’s tragedies paved the way to minister to others through her growing ministry and Bible study.
I can relate. Misty and I have talked about how upside-down biblical faith can be. But when one understands that God does not allow anything to happen to his children that cannot work together for their eternal good and his glory, faith has lingering effects in one’s heart.
Like Job, we can only become overcomers if we press on. And like him, we cannot claim to have strong faith until it’s tested and tried by fire, and the measured heat purifies our hearts as God purposefully designed.
Find out more about Misty’s ministry and book at mistyphillip.com. For the interview with Misty Phillip, visit bit.ly/3yuiibh.