He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes. I cry unto thee, and thou dost not answer me: I stand up and thou regardest me not. –Job 30:19-20
Job’s story is one that many of us take for granted until we have trouble of our own. However, the magnitude of crisis Job faces in his life is the blindsided, uncertain and terrifying trauma of back-to-back events that are out of his hands. All of Job’s wealth had been destroyed in an instant, and he has more questions than answers. As we read through Job, we usually look at how his wife and friends respond. Often, we draw on the points of Job’s character and refusal to curse God, but do we notice how this trial has worn Job down at this point?
When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness. –Job 30:26
How do we deal with weariness, fear and uncertainty in the face of trials? A few of us have felt this way at some point in our lives. The bottom just seems to fall out from under us and it never seems to close again. We then notice that we’ve been praying the same prayer for not just a few months, but a few years. We feel as if our tears will stop only because there will be no more tears left to cry. It is in times like these that you must realize you cannot fight the battle alone.
A few weeks ago, I ran out of gas. This was not a simple trip to the store around my hometown in Alabama; you see, I ran out of gas in the middle of Washington, DC. My family and I were traveling and were now lost as we searched for our hotel. Once I realized I was out of gas, I felt helpless. We sat there wondering what to do and who to call on in this strange land. As we sat there, we each became agitated and impatient.
Questions began to turn to accusations:
Why didn’t you look at the gas gauge? Why did you take this route? Why didn’t you listen to where I wanted to go? Why are we here anyway? This wouldn’t have happened if I drove. We should have taken that other road. This is your fault!
Accusations began to turn to guilt:
It is my fault. I should have gotten the gas. If only I would have checked before we left. If only we would have taken that other road. If only I would have listened to your directions. If only I had left earlier. If only we didn’t get stuck in traffic.
Then guilt became despair:
We’re stuck out here and we don’t even know where we are. How are we going to even make it back to the hotel? We might as well sleep on the side of the road and just wait…
So often we go through these same questions when we are in the midst of trials that we think will never end. We begin to wonder why, how long, and where is God. After the questions are not answered, we either accuse or guilt ourselves into despair.
But hold on!
My insurance company has something called “Roadside Assistance.” This is a service that I pay into each month. No matter where I am, no matter what the circumstances, I can always call on “Roadside Assistance.” The only drawback about this service? I have to wait for them to come with help. They are not on every corner, but I know once I call, they are coming at some point.
And they did!
Once “Roadside Assistance” arrived with a gallon of gas, we drove out of this strange neighborhood to the main road in an attempt to correct our wrong turn. Here’s the punch line: our “wrong turn” lead us directly to our hotel. We had not only taken the right turn, but we were on the right road and safely in our warm beds within fifteen minutes of getting help.
God presents Job with a series of questions that cause him to take a somewhat pause, realizing his inability to comprehend the mind of God. This is what we must see in our trials, no matter how long and difficult. This is not to diminish what we go through, but to put it all in the proper lens. The road is tough. We wonder why some of the things and events that have happened were allowed and we start to wonder if we are on the right path. We may run out of gas as we travel and we may even want to pull over, park and either settle or give up. However, if you have made it this far serving the Lord, remember that you have assistance along this road and you can call on Him at any time. Have you called and He still has not arrived? Keep praying and keep holding on. It may not seem like it, but know that God is listening to your prayers. He sees your tears and knows what you need to make it through these times. Continue to serve, continue to work, and continue to minister to others. Are you wandering around in a strange neighborhood? Have patience, for even if you are in what seems a mistake, you are closer to your destination than you think.