You are an upright man who fears God and honors Him in all that you do. You are also a very rich businessman with exceedingly high profit and rising success. You have many people working underneath you and making sure you continue to prosper in every area of your life. You have a large, happy family with whom you get together, celebrate, and enjoy life with often. To sum it all up there is one word that describes what you are best: BLESSED. There is nothing that you lack in life and God continues to provide for your every need as you continue to glorify Him with your life. Your life is good.
Then one seemingly normal day… it all changes.
You wake up early in the morning and do your daily devotions as usual. You walk into your closet and pick out the suit you will wear to work. You walk into the kitchen to the aroma of freshly made breakfast (by your wonderful wife of course). Nothing is out of ordinary. Until the doorbell rings.
In walks in your right hand man from your company with a frightened look on his face. You ask to come in and sit down and as soon as he sits down with a trembling voice he tells you “It’s over. Our building has just burned down, we have nothing left from our company” Before you have a chance to reply you hear your doorbell ring again. You go to answer and in walks an employee who says “all of your remaining employees have quit, they don’t want to have anything to do with your company anymore”. While he’s still speaking the doorbell rings once again… and in walks an old family friend and before you can even ask him to sit down he blurts out “Your sons and daughters are all dead… they were all together on a ship that sank an hour ago, there were no survivors”.
And within minutes… your whole world comes crashing down.
If you haven’t already figured out which man from the Bible I’m referring to, it’s Job. The man that lost it all in one day. The riches, the servants, even his sons and daughters. I have bad days once in a while. But they are nothing compared to this day in Job’s life.
And the interesting thing is? Job didn’t do anything to deserve it. He was blameless and upright (Job 1:1). He went above and beyond to make sure that nothing he or his family did was against God’s laws (Job 1:4-5). Yet God allowed all of these things to happen in his life. Why? To see how he would respond. (Job 9:1-12)
See… it’s one thing to obey God and praise Him when life is going good. It’s a different story when it’s not. When you have all the money in the world it’s easy to glorify God. When you’re scrambling to get by and are living paycheck to paycheck, it might not come so easily. When your family is healthy, happy, and all serving God it’s easy to glorify God. When they’re sick, suffering, or struggling with something it might not come so easily. When your life is going according to your plan it’s easy to glorify God, when all of a sudden you hit rock bottom and you don’t have a clue of what to do next it may not be so easy to continue praising Him.
All of this happens to Job – and lets not forget that later on his not-so-amazing friends come to visit him to “encourage” him by telling him he must have sinned somehow and needs to repent (which was not the case) and he has his own wife tell him to curse God so he could die quicker (great advice, right?). But what does he do? The least likely thing that I think anyone would do. He glorifies God and says “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:20)
All I can say to that is: WOW. That probably would have not been my response. At all. I probably would’ve gotten angry, depressed, confused, shaken… and all kinds of other things. I probably wouldn’t have been praising God at that moment. But I love the fact that in the midst of all of the bad news, that’s exactly what Job chose to do.
And Job wasn’t the only man in the Bible who praised God during the hard times. Take David for example. He praised God in the cave he was hiding in when his life was continually threatened by his own father-in-law (Psalm 57). Or Paul and Silas who find themselves chained up in a jail cell for preaching the gospel. You can hear them singing hymns of praise to God (Acts 16:25). Seriously?
And in the end you know what happens to them? Good ol’ Job not only gets everything restored to him God makes him TWICE as prosperous as before (Job 42:10). David had victory over his enemies and eventually ascended to the throne to be king as God had promised him. Paul and Silas had the opportunity to bring new believers to Christ in that jail cell and they were set free the following day.
If there is anything I can learn from these great men of the Bible it’s this: powerful things happen when you choose to praise God in the middle of the storm. When things may be falling apart or not making too much sense in life. When victory seems far away. When the hole you find yourself in seems too deep to get out of.
Because by praising God during this time you are saying “God, my circumstances may be terrible, my life may be falling apart, but You are still good, You still deserve all glory, You are still the One in control here and I will choose to praise You and trust You to take care of me from this point forward”.
And when that’s what you choose to do… God will bless you for being faithful to Him when it’s hard to do so. He’ll take care of you and your situation. He’ll get you through whatever it is that you are facing. And you’ll come out of the situation much more blessed and grateful then when you first came into it.
If you are going through a storm right now… glorify God, sing Him praises, worship Him. Because you may be in the valley now but if you choose to praise Him during this time, you won’t be there for too long. 🙂
[Image creator unknown. Please respond if you know the author so credit can be given.]