What I'm Learning From Hardship: #ifjobhadatwitter
#ifjobhadatwitter. These are the lessons I have learned in a month-long study of The Book of Job. What would job say if he had a Twitter?
Job’s Twitter #1: “What I’m learning from hardship: Too often we see the loss in a story and we do not see the gain that is so obvious.”
While reading the story of Job, did you miss the recovery? Have you always gotten stuck on the problem and missed the answer? There is always grace in every story. When God is writing the verse and the lines, you have to read the story all the way to the end. God will never create a story that has a bad ending. It may seem like in the middle of the story that everything is wrong, but, you have to finish the story. And see the gain and not only the loss. When God gives back to Job double what was taken.
I speak with young people every day and hear so many stories of tragedy and loss, of chaos and drama. One thing I have always tried to get teenagers to see is that God always has a purpose in everything under the sun as it relates to us. He can turn our mess into His message and He can take our chaos and throw it on His canvass and create a masterpiece.
A Magnum Opus
His greatest work. Since hardship and trial are part of Christianity and scripture, why are we so upset about hardship and trial in Christians and culture? Maybe you have lost a friend or maybe you have lost your integrity. Whatever it is, don’t forget that as long as the story is still being written, there will be a gain in the end. A Magnus Opus is the perfect work of an artist. The pinnacle. And God always works in addition and not subtraction.
Young people, when you think of Job or Paul, don't say, “Those Poor Guys.” If you do, you are merely looking at the bad and not seeing the purpose it might be producing. Why are we still talking about Job today? Because of the incredible story of his life. His impact upon history and the way he modeled how we should go through hardship. God knows how to turn it around. As Joseph said to his entire family at the end of his story in Genesis, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (Genesis 50:20) Next time you see the inequity in your own life, don't focus upon the loss and completely miss what God is doing. Focus upon the gain and the purpose that God is intending in the hardship.
Lunch With Job
You may not ever want to sit at the table with Job in heaven. Picture this - If you have had an easy life, choose someone else to sit and talk to. If you look at difficulty as unfair, choose someone else to eat with. If you have been angry with God for something you are going through, choose another table. If you have become bitter toward a friend who is better off than you, choose another table. Those are conversations you do not want to have with Job or Paul…or Joseph or Daniel…or Esther or Mary. If you have lived a life of ease, you might want to find the table of a 21st century Western American Christian who has had a plush life in their comfortable theology of ease. That would be a much easier conversation.
And so we are led to the first lesson I have been learning from Job’s story. That we too often see the LOSS and not the GAIN. That there is more glory in the story than hardship. God is painting and He is not done with the picture. You cannot look too closely at the Artist’s painting too early. If you never get to the end of the story you will never see the GAIN. When an artist begins to work, we might look at the portrait or the painting and think that the picture is terrible. Those are just lines and scratch on a canvass! Unless you see the whole picture or the whole work, you might only see half of the artist’s talent. But, remember, God is not done. I’ve learned not to look too early on an Artist’s creation. Because if it is not complete, it will look like a mess. Like an amateur painted that. Painting a masterpiece begins with a stroke and some movements and curves and lines. Incomplete colors. Until the end. When it all comes together in a blast of color and perfectly set lines that create the great work.
You are God's great Magnum Opus. Your life is His greatest masterpiece.