We've all had that moment (or moments) when we don't understand God's heart. Where He leads is painful or hard, and we don't understand why He leads through such heart break. We see it happen throughout the Bible, from Elijah on the run from Jezebel to David soaking his bed at night with his tears to Jesus pouring out his heart to His Father in Gethsemane. These stories in the Bible reflect one undeniable message: following Jesus isn't always settlingly comfortable.
Sometimes following Jesus is painful. Sometimes following Jesus is heartbreaking. Sometimes it feels as if the next step isn't worth it, as if breathing takes too much effort to be worth taking. Sometimes it's cold and hard and lonely.
When we read the story of Job in the Bible, we are reading the story of a man robbed of everything: children, possessions, reputation, and health. His friends gather around him to harrass him with their own take as to the reason for his suffering. Maybe he abused the poor? Maybe he wasn't really as righteous as he appeared? Maybe he had hidden sin?
As readers, we know the full story; Job had committed no wrong, God was not punishing him, and the entire reason for his test was to bring God glory, not to punish Job. But from Job's angle, none of that could be seen. All he knew was that suddenly, God was no longer his benefactor, but seemingly an accomplice in his ruin who had suddenly and mysteriously becomes silent to his cries for help and his outpouring of pain.
Yet even the utter desperation he must have felt didn't stop him from uttering these words, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him." In utter brokenness, sitting on a blanket scraping his scabbed body with a piece of broken pottery, Job proclaims that even in death, His hope is in God. Through all of it, his confidence was unshaken.
Teenagers, I'm just going to be honest. You're going to have rough times. Sometimes, the pain is going to feel like it's ripping your heart out. Your heart will be wrung sometimes, because a painless life doesn't exist in this world. So the key isn't in avoiding the hardships. It's in responding to them.
Job gives us the key to responding rightly: We hope in God. During the hard times, we hope in God. During the easy times, we hope in God. During the happy times, we hope in God. During the painful times, we hope in God. Our final, ultimate hope is in Christ alone.
The hard times, when God is silent or moving in ways we cannot understand, are when our faith is tried. And that is where our relationship with our Father deepens, because there's no other place we can run. When the hard times come, we find out just how firm the God is we hold to.
Cling to Him. When the hard times come, cling harder. Grab onto Him, and when He is silent, grab all the harder. When a friend moves, when a family member betrays you, when your whole world comes falling down around you, cling to Christ, and His grace is sufficient.
Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.