“God often chooses to extend His finest measure of grace in the midst of our most difficult days.” (Jack D)
Job was an enigmatic individual. We have scant information as to his childhood, must less his birth. The book that bears his name simply opens with this statement: “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job” (Job 1:1). What’s an Uz, and where’s it at? My research says it’s likely east/southeast of Palestine, somewhere in the Arabian Desert. But there’s more to Job than his hometown. In that opening verse of
this ancient (many scholars believe Job is the oldest book in the Bible) text, we’re also told: “...and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). You’d think that his respect and reverence for God along with his disdain for wickedness would guarantee an easy life – and you’d be wrong: dead wrong. You know the story, don’t you? By the end of that first chapter, we find Job standing beside 10 fresh graves, each holding the mortal remains of a child he loved. Again, if you know the story, you know all ends well for Job: “Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12). But how did Job ever move on in his life after the unimaginable anguish of burying ten children? I think the answer is grace. I’ve often wondered if there would have been a Job 42:12 if there’d never been a Job 1. My point is that the greatest expressions of God’s grace often intersect our lives at the point of our deepest pain.
One of our more memorable New Testament examples of this possible principle might be Paul. Remember the “thorn in the flesh” he battled? So intense was his pain that Paul approached the Lord three separate occasions with the same request: “I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me” (2 Corinthians 12:8). Paul had a plan: relieve the pain. God had a better plan. Notice His response to Paul’s prayer: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Game changer! I suspect 20 th century Christian apologist and author C.S. Lewis was right when he said: “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures...but shouts in our pains.” God heard Paul all three of his prayers. We know God’s answer served as great comfort to the pained servant because he submitted to the Sovereign plan: “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I meet people all the time who are in some sort of pain. That’s bad. But no matter the ache they experience – God’s answer is always the same – grace. That’s good. Is pain dogging your every step? Does it seem that hurt is your constant companion? And here I was, thinking I was the only one. Why don’t you join me today? I’ve received a personal invitation to approach God’s Throne (which, by the way, is a throne of – you guessed it – grace) and you can come with me if you like. Here’s the invite: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Who knows…I just might see you there.
“While we may find ourselves voluntarily voicing our gratitude for God’s grand grace in our times of pleasure – it is often that we discover His grace becomes amazing in our seasons of pain.” (Jack D)