Blog Archive


Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

Powered by Blogger.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Three Tips for Surviving the Job Cascade

How do you survive when you feel like you're drowning? Right now, my family as well as a family dear to us has been going through what I term "the Job Cascade." For those unfamiliar with the story, the first two chapters of the book of Job relates how righteous Job is attacked by Satan, first by an incredible series of events that target Job's livelihood, his property, and his family. However, Job proves his righteousness by pouring himself out before God, praying with the words "naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

In my human mind I would think that is enough. Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with wrongdoing. But life doesn't always go the way one expects and Job gets hit a second time, this time by being afflicted with sores over his entire body. That's the Job cascade. It's when you have been drowning in one bad situation after another, and just when you think you might be able to catch a breath, another wave slams down on you.

Why would God allow so much tragedy in the life of a Christian who only seeks to rest in Him? I truly don't know. In Job's case, we get a peek behind the curtain and see two different factors happening simultaneously: God is demonstrating to Satan that holiness is not self-seeking and we learn that Job had some misunderstandings about God's nature that needed to be corrected. But, that really doesn't help you, if you are the one going through the Job Cascade, so I wanted to provide three specific tips to help you if you are in a free-fall now or when you may find yourself there in the future:

1. God Exists and Jesus Rose from the Dead

The first point may seem a bit quizzical, but it is the most important one. Many faithful Christians when facing a crisis will turn to prayer. When another crisis comes on top of the first, they pray harder. But when that next wave comes and knocks them back under water, that's when people begin to doubt. They may ask themselves "Is God real or are my prayers only reaching as high as the ceiling?" "Do I really believe that Jesus saved me just so I can go through this?"

These kinds of questions happen frequently in difficult times, but those are the exact wrong times to be asking such important questions. You never ask the most difficult questions in an emotionally charged state, because you simply cannot think as clearly as when you are calm. That's why I have held that a discipline like apologetics is so important. If you've wrestled with questions like does God exist or did Jesus really rise from the dead—taking the most strenuous objections and working through them—then you can at least clear those doubts from your mind.

I almost lost my wife when our third son was born to us, and that was my exact experience. As soon as I began doubting in my prayer time, I was able to say, "Look, I've worked through those questions strenuously, and I'm convinced that the evidence shows there is a God and Jesus did rise from the grave." That confidence enabled me to quickly vanquish my doubts and change my question to, "I don't know what you're doing Lord, but I know that my hope is in you. Can you help me get through this?"

2. Other Good Christians Have Tread Your Path

A frequent question in times of turmoil is "how can I survive any more of this?" Your particular group of circumstances may be unique, but rest assured that other Christians have gone through each of them and survived. Of course it's hard. I understand it's REALLY HARD! But know that people have come through some of the most difficult trials and they still take joy in their relationship with Christ.

Find someone who you can talk with and cry with. Find a Christian brother or sister whose walked with the Lord a long time and ask them to tell you about their heartaches and how the Lord sustained them. We can receive comfort knowing that God has worked in the past and He will continue to work.

3. No Purpose of God's Can Be Thwarted

In Job's case, it was when Job confessed his hubris in assuming to know the Lord's mind that brought an end to his trials. Job 42:2-63 records his prayer: "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know." That's an important idea for anyone hurting today as well. God's purposes cannot be thwarted, and God's purposes are clearly spelled out in the Bible. He is the unchanging Father of Lights, who give s us every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). He is the God who loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son for our benefit (John 3:16).

The verse that I cling to most in difficult times is Romans 8:31-32, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Meditate on that for a moment. God knows what sacrifice and pain mean. He had to give up His Son for sinners who were in rebellion against Him. If God would love you enough to sacrifice His only Son, then His purposes towards you are nothing but good. Do you hurt? Absolutely, sometimes with a pain that keeps you from breathing. But, God will ultimately bring glory to the events, either here or in heaven.

The Christian life is based on hope. It isn't the hope that comes from abolishing pain in this world, it is the hope that once we see His face in Heaven, that we would then realize our present sufferings are unworthy to be compared to the glories to be revealed there.

I know you feel like you're drowning and you may never surface. I pray deeply for you in your pain. But please hang on. There really is a God, and that means we have a hope that transcends this world. Hold on to that one thing, just that one thing, and know that all is not lost.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Come Reason brandmark Convincing Christianity
An invaluable addition to the realm of Christian apologetics

Mary Jo Sharp:

"Lenny Esposito's work at Come Reason Ministries is an invaluable addition to the realm of Christian apologetics. He is as knowledgeable as he is gracious. I highly recommend booking Lenny as a speaker for your next conference or workshop!"
Check out more X