I just read through the book of Job a couple weeks ago and, as God does many times, He used real life to drive a point home. Job was a man of faith, a righteous man. In many ways and in many, if not all, areas of his life, he was a good man, the best really. He was there for his friends, he encouraged those who were suffering, he did all the right things, he even accounted for and made offerings to atone for his children's sins. He was successful and prosperous. One could even argue that his life was perfect. It's easy to be faithful to God when life is going so perfectly, right? Well, what about when things aren't perfect? When circumstances are less than desirable and there is pain and strife, can a man remain faithful to God? That is exactly the question presented regarding Job. Allow him to be tested, to loose all but his life and see if he still stands by God. And that is exactly what happened.
It's not his attitude that is remarkable, or the manner in which he bares his sufferings. I related a lot to Job in those areas. He longed for the grave, hoped in it. He questioned God's reasons, begged for answers. But through it all, he never lost faith. He never cursed God and turned his back on Him. He may not have understood the why, but he remained faithful. His faith allowed him to know that though he didn't understand, he believed what God promised. His understanding of who God is did not fail him. And he came to understand that bad things happen to the very best of people and to the very worst of people. In the same way, prosperity comes to the very best of people and to the very worst of people. But he also believed that in death, the reward would come to those who are faithful to God.
This past weekend, we went down to Dallas to pay our respects and say "see you later" to, in my opinion, a modern day Job. My cousin, Rodney, went home to be with Jesus after a long battle with cancer. He was far too young and left behind two beautiful little girls and his amazing wife, Melissa. He was, in MANY peoples opinions, one of the very best people there were. And it is hard for me to understand why such a wonderful person was taken from his family so soon. Why he had to battle for over two years against a failing body. And I may never fully understand, but what I do know is that both Rodney and Melissa remained faithful to God through all of it. There walk of faith has been an inspiration to me and I believe to many other people.
We may not ever understand why bad things happen to seemingly undeserving people, apart from the simple truth that we live in a sinful world. And to many, faith only acts as a crutch to help deal with those bad things when they happen. But for me, and the things that my faith has carried me through, what an amazing crutch to have. I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes the trial is much bigger than anything I can handle on my own and I couldn't ask for a more amazing support system to have on my side than God.
So how does the story end? Well, for Job, God rewarded him for his faith. All he had before was restored twofold. For Rodney, I can't say exactly in details, but I believe with all my heart, this Rodney is receiving and will receive his reward for eternity in paradise with a loving and faithful God. For Melissa and the girls, for myself, for you, our stories are still going on. But I believe with all my heart, that God has something beyond what Melissa could ever ask or imagine in store for her and the girls. And for myself, I choose to have faith like Job. I have seen God work in my life and the lives of others to know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God has something great in store for those who have faith. And it is usually not anything we could dream for ourselves. And all the rewards and blessings we partake of in this life, our reward in heaven will be even greater. Greater than we could ever imagine.