The Trial of Faith

( [email protected] ) Mar 13, 2004 07:33 AM EST

The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief.

Throughout Job's long ordeal one concern continually raced through his mind. He was fully aware that all men are sinners and therefore are justly deserving of divine punishment. His concern was, however, that he had always dealt with sin in an open manner. He had sacrificed daily to the Lord God and had conducted his life in such a way that it was pleasing to God. Throughout the ordeal the so-called comfort afforded him by his three friends was generated by the belief that Job's suffering was the result of secret sin and that if he would confess that sin, God would surely remove the suffering. Job, however, knew of no secret sin in his life and believed that his suffering must be due to his piety. Job's mind was characterized by bewilderment, not by the suppression of known sin.

Job's understanding of the foolish heart of man is theologically correct. He knows that sin can never be successfully hidden from God. So wicked is the heart of man that he will confiscate the property of the fatherless and deny charity to the poor; and as wild asses rising with the light, they kill the poor and needy, assuming that no one will discover their crime (Job 24:14). "The morning is to them even as the shadow of death" (Job 24:17), for the rising of the sun brings to light the wickedness in which they have been engaged throughout the dark hours of the night. Yet Job knows that he has not conducted himself in this manner. It is understandable that God would punish with affliction those who have lived in the way Job has described, but it is not understandable why the righteous should suffer in the same manner. Job was upright before the Lord. How could the Lord allow this to happen to him? A similar circumstance once occurred in the life of William Carey, the pioneer missionary to India. After his work was established, those who supported him in England sent a printer to assist him in the work. Together they began producing portions of the Bible for distribution in India. One day while he was away from his station, a fire broke out and completely destroyed everything Carey had accomplished. The building, the presses, the Bibles, and worst of all, the manuscripts, grammars, and dictionaries on which he had spent many years of his life were all burned and destroyed. When Carey returned, his servant met him and tearfully relayed the news of the dreadful fire. How would Carey react? Without a word of despair or anger, William Carey knelt and thanked God that he still had strength enough to do that work all over again. Immediately he began, not wasting his time or licking his wounds. Before Carey died, under the direction of the Spirit of God he had not only duplicated his earlier achievements but produced far better grammars, dictionaries, and translations of the Scripture than the first time.

William Carey had learned what Job had learned. Disaster does not necessarily mean the presence of secret sin. Sometimes God allows the pious to suffer just as He allows the impious. It is the trial of our faith that worketh patience, and without this trial the legendary patience of Job would not be such a comfort to us today.

May each of us view those disasters that enter our lives through the godly glasses of courage and patience. May our lives be free from known sin so that with Job we may say of the Lord, "But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).

Source: Early in the Morning 2