The despair of the righteous in difficult times is often so profound that hope appears as a foolish notion one dares not discuss, not even with God. There are professing Christians who are shallow, having very little depth in their walk with the Lord, and with sloppy reverence they try to be Christians. There are those with a sincere and yearning heart to follow after God with what they know. Then there are those who are truly followers of Christ, who walk in greater depth of faithfulness and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit through faith deeply established by years of loyalty. In all the different categories of our spiritual experience as Christians, we at times become bewildered and deeply grieved by disappointments that occur amidst our time of peaceful serenity in Christ. This can happen when something, or even someone, creates an unanticipated situation designed to displace our loyal service to Christ. I am not referencing light afflictions, but the extremely difficult situations with effects that linger to disrupt our purity and holiness—established in the presence of God.
These disappointments can bring us into grave situations of utter despair and anguish for a season. At times, even trust seems to fail; we may even question our faith in God. Sometimes there are tragic circumstances that encounter us and are designed to destroy the tender love and faith we have in our relationship with Christ. When we get into these situations, we’re often encumbered with utter despair. In these places of anguish, we tend to look at everything in a way that takes us even deeper into misery. We find ourselves in a place where we become distraught and troubled on every side. There seems to be nowhere to look for refuge; any ray of hope is only a façade leading to further dismay. At times, every move we make thrusts us into deeper cycles of dejection and inconceivable feelings of isolation. These advanced stages of testing can even bring a vibrant prayer-life to a sudden halt. We begin to process thoughts of questioning, sifting through ideas of what could cause this torrent of despair. Is it something I did wrong? Are we in the crosshairs of Satan’s conflict against our very soul? What went wrong?
Often, I refrain from speaking much about this, because there are many who will associate their troubles with spiritual trials, when in truth, it is only that their sinful life is being exposed. I am writing about the many afflictions of the righteous, not the unrighteous. We must never misunderstand this in any sort of way. The issues that encumbered Job did not result from sin he had fallen into. It was simply that he was a righteous man, with loyalty even observed from heaven when his name was brought up at a meeting amidst the sons of God.
Job was a man that was perfect and upright, he feared God and hated sin. Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He had 7000 sheep 3000 camels 500 yoke oxen 500 asses.
He was the greatest amongst the men of the East. Job sanctified his family continually unto the Lord, in case they fell into hidden sin. His integrity and loyalty before the Lord was so solid, that Satan remarked on God’s blessing and protection over him. Satan said, ‘If you take that away from him, he will curse you to your face’. God told him he could take all from Job, except for his life. Satan did it all in one day. This calamity was to an extreme degree that few people in all of history have ever experienced. It is estimated that Job’s assets were around 20 million approximately 3,600 years ago, far richer than anyone in our day. It appears that all was lost in a day and nothing was left for him. His health was taken, and his friends became ill-advisers, turning out to be enemies.
So, in a short conclusion, Job was extremely troubled—he lost everything, and had every reason to be the most down-cast man on all the earth. God gave him to Satan to be nearly destroyed in order to prove to him that Job would not sin with his lips, but would only fear God. He lost all his wealth and his children, and his friends greatly misunderstood him, basically accusing him of sin. We would think if ever a man needed tender care and understanding, and the love of God in a way that brings hope, it was Job in this moment!
This is what he got from God: Job 40:6 Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said V.7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Job 40:10 Deck you now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. V.12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. V.13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. V.14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.
‘Get up and stop crying, clothe yourself with excellence and beauty and cast away the rage of your wrath: look at the one that is proud, and humiliate him.’ And Job was fully restored and given more than he ever had before, including sons and daughters. What was his victory?