The Absence of a Timeline

We’ve all heard of Job (and, no, I’m not talking about careers). His story rests between Esther and Psalms. If you are anything like me, the Books of Job and Psalms were the easiest of the Old Testament books to find as a kid. Yet, I never read either of them until my early twenties after finding Christ. Job’s story is somewhat of a difficult read, especially if you read it while living it.

God called me to read Job when I was struggling heavily financially. During that time, I sold belongs to buy the least amount of food I knew I could live off of until the next paycheck just to pay bills (this included eating a couple of celery stalks for dinner on occasion). It was one of the bleakest times of my life, but God called me to read Job in the midst of it.

So I did, and when I finished I wondered why. I knew God was faithful, I knew He’d help me through it because He promised to never forsake me. He promised to care for me as He cares for all His children. I knew this was just a season I had to get through and then everything would be okay. So why did He call me to read Job?

A couple of Sunday’s before I finished reading this set of scriptures, someone had donated a box full of books they no longer wanted. Our pastor offered them to anyone who wanted them in both of the services we held. People dug through it before they left, taking what they wanted. After the majority of our congregation had left I finally wondered over and dug through it myself. Lo and behold, in the box was a study bible, something I was hoping to get once I was financially stable enough to afford it.

As I sat there in my living room having finished Job and wondering as to why God wanted me to read this, He reminded me of the study bible I had gotten and tugged on my heart to read what it said in relation to Elihu. (Now, if you remember Job, Elihu — though young — was the only wise person in the group. However, he didn’t say enough of the truth to get the full message across. Thus, God appeared before Job to finish delivering the message.)

In the study bible it says in the margins, “Elihu turned out to be far more empathetic in his treatment of Job. For example, he allowed for the possibility that neither Job’s circumstances nor his rebuttals to his three friends’ remarks necessarily implied sin or guilt. Instead, he suggested — probably correctly — that Job was being disciplined and refined by fire for his greater good, or to teach greater truth”. This hit me hard; like lightning, I immediately remembered diamonds.

Around the first months I was saved, Hawk Nelson’s ‘Diamonds’ was playing on KLove, a Christian music station I love to listen to in the car. In the song, they sing “He’s making diamonds out of dust; He’s making diamonds out of us”. It’s one of my favorite songs, but until I read about Elihu in this study bible I never put two and two together.
Diamonds are formed when extremely high temperatures and pressure are applied to carbon. When they, in their rocky shape, are pulled out of the ground, they are refined, cut, and shaped into the typical jewels we picture when we heard the name.

Spiritually, we slowly become like diamonds. We go through trials, enduring pressure and fire to come out stronger in our faith than we were before. God uses these events and situations in our lives to shape us, to rid us of habits that are ungodly and instill in us godly ones. These events and situations shouldn’t be viewed negatively; there is a lesson to be had with each. Instead, we must seek the thing God is trying to teach in them.

Through the endeavor I endured a year ago, God helped me to break my major time-wasting habit and taught me how to manage my budget better. Here recently a friend of mine shared her ‘Job’ moment while we fellowshipped together. During her trials, He taught her to trust in Him more and how powerful prayer really is. In comparison, my ‘Job’ moment only lasted a small amount of months while hers last about two years.

The thing is, friends, there is one factor left out of Job that people, I think, tend to overlook, and I know without a doubt it’s left out for a reason. That factor is time. We aren’t told how long Job suffered after losing everything until he gain it all back and then some. We don’t know how long he sat there in misery before the counselors came to talk to him or how long after that he had to wait before one of the things he lost was first returned. We also aren’t made aware of how long it took him to gain it all back. Did he get all of his sheep, camels, and oxen in one fell swoop or did it take his whole lifetime and the count given of each was the total he owned when he died? Sure, the last section of the story tells us he had seven sons and three daughters, but it also says ‘After this Job lived one hundred and forty years’. That’s a lot of time to cover!

In short, if you are going through a ‘Job’ moment now, please take heart. Your journey isn’t over. I know it’s hard and times are tough, and it may even seem like it’s taking forever to get through. However, God promises to get you through it. He promises to bless you at the other end of it, whether it be by returning more than what you’ve lost or by growing you one step closer into the person He designed you to be. Whatever the reason you are going through what you are, there is a reason for it. We can’t always see why we go through what occurs, but in the end we’ll reflect back and be overfilled with joy that, yes, God faithfully kept His promise.

“Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning…”

Job 42:12

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me’. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:12-17

2 thoughts on “The Absence of a Timeline

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s