When The Chips Are Down

*This is not an article about gambling!*

Job 1:1-22 MSG
1  Job was a man who lived in Uz. He was honest inside and out, a man of his word, who was totally devoted to God and hated evil with a passion.
2  He had seven sons and three daughters.
3  He was also very wealthy—seven thousand head of sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred teams of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and a huge staff of servants—the most influential man in all the East!
4  His sons used to take turns hosting parties in their homes, always inviting their three sisters to join them in their merrymaking.
5  When the parties were over, Job would get up early in the morning and sacrifice a burnt offering for each of his children, thinking, “Maybe one of them sinned by defying God inwardly.” Job made a habit of this sacrificial atonement, just in case they’d sinned.
6  One day when the angels came to report to GOD, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them.
7  GOD singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?” Satan answered GOD, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”
8  GOD said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”
9  Satan retorted, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart?
10  Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can’t lose!
11  “But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”
12  GOD replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of GOD.
13  Sometime later, while Job’s children were having one of their parties at the home of the oldest son,
14  a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing in the field next to us
15  when Sabeans attacked. They stole the animals and killed the field hands. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”
16  While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Bolts of lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and fried them—burned them to a crisp. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”
17  While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Chaldeans coming from three directions raided the camels and massacred the camel drivers. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”
18  While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Your children were having a party at the home of the oldest brother
19  when a tornado swept in off the desert and struck the house. It collapsed on the young people and they died. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”
20  Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped:
21  Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I’ll return to the womb of the earth. GOD gives, GOD takes. God’s name be ever blessed.
***22  Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God.***

If you were to come and visit me for a couple of days you would find that I am human like the rest of the seven plus billion living on this earth.

When I was in my teens I was learning to play the piano so that I could play when my sister and I would sing gospel songs.  It was not easy learning because I was not being taught by a piano teacher.  There were times I wanted to quit, yet I persevered trying to play the instrument.  I would sit at the old piano that was given to me for hours at a time.  Then come Sunday I would try to play at my home church since there was no other musicians after my grandfather passed away.

I now look back at those days and would not trade one moment of them.  Going through those days as a young teen my mother said she could always tell when I was frustrated.  She said that I would scratch the top of my head a certain way.  I never realized I was making such a motion.  I finally mastered the piano and developed my own style that was fitting to the gospel songs that I sang.  I have come a long way since those teenage years and I no longer get frustrated when playing the piano and now also the organ.

I am no saint and have my weak moments where I may get angry about how someone is driving around me.  I even have moments where I just want to throw my hands in the air and admit defeat.  

I can remember hearing people talk about a person who was dealing in an situation that for many would be total disgust.  They would say, “he must have the patience of Job”.

For the most part it would seem we all have two faces, one for when we are in a social setting, and the other when no one can see us and the door is closed to the rest of the world.  The latter is the face we all need to work on for that is the true person coming out.

Some days I would like to throw my phone out the window because it seems it always rings just when I have my hands full, or when I am trying to watch a program on television.  If I were to guess I am not the only who has those feelings from time to time.

There is one event that shows our true character, it is adversity.  Everyone who lives and breathes will face it during their life.  Aversity will either break you or make you stronger.

I believe the hardest adversity one has to face is parents losing a child due to illness or accident.  I have witnessed two young teenagers laid to rest and the pain and despair on the parents.  No words can ever soothe the absolute sense of loss for those parents.  It is true that parents shouldn’t have outlive their children.  As one pastor said at my cousin’s funeral, “life is not fair”.

For Job it was the loss of his entire family, Job’s response is truly beyond human character.  The last verse of chapter one declares through all the despair Job did not sin.  **22  Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God.***  The King James version says that Job did not charge God foolishly.

I must admit that I am not sure that I could live up to the standard that Job showed to all his friends, and the land he lived in. 

I have a daughter and three grandchildren and the thought of losing them at all the same time would be devasting throwing me into complete and utter despair.  I would hope that I would be like Job and not blame God for the loss of my loved ones.

When I was thirteen years old my grandfather, who I was very close to, died at the age of fifty – seven.  I remember how I felt, I was angry, depressed and many more emotions that would seem quite expected for a teenager to be experiencing.  I did blame God for quite awhile.  At the time I was learning to play the accordian.  I took that accordian and placed it next to the garbage can.  My mom took it and stored it for me.  Yes, it took awhile for my emotions to stabilize.  I now look back and can see the good that came from that event, I learned how to play the piano which eventually led me to be able to travel across Canada and the United States with an evangelist.  So, while it seemed dark and bleaked going through it, it work to God’s glory.

I am now much older and have learned some of God’s lessons and I look at adversity in a different light.  No, I don’t look through rose colored glasses, but rather I look through the lense that God desires for all of us.  We may not understand the trial that we are facing but we should be able to go through it knowing God is holding our hand.  Therefore we can be like Job and not sin or blame God.

Oh, it may look like all the chips are down and would appear that the whole world is against us but remember this:

Romans 8:31 MSG
31  So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?




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