"This is the life......"

I am proud to say that I have read most of the Bible. Well, maybe proud isn't the word I should use...privileged, that is how I feel everytime I open this great book. It IS a privilege to be able to open my Bible and read it anytime and anywhere that I want to. Some people do not have this gift of freedom. I will say that some books of the Bible are more interesting and fascinating to me than others, but I know that there is wisdom hidden even in those books which I struggle to get through. One of those books that just didn't appeal to me is the book of Job. I vaguely knew Job's story and I just couldn't seem to get myself in the right frame of mind to read about his trials and suffering until just recently. Whenever I start to read a new section or book in my Bible I always write the start date on the beginnning page. So, for Job it was December 2012....my ending date was today, January 22, 2013. No, the book of Job is not a 1200 page novel and no, I do not need to get "Hooked on Phonics." However, I will tell you that Job is one of those books where you read about a man who suffered for a long time and still would not condemn God, but remained faithful. There were times when I couldn't believe what I was reading because of what Job had to go through. These verses were the first of many trials and suffering that Job endured; "He put painful sores on Job's body, from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Job took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself, and sat in ashes in misery. Job's wife said to him, "Why are you trying to stay innocent? Curse God and die!" Job answered, "You are talking foolish woman. Should we take only good things from God and not trouble?" In spite of all this Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:7-10) I don't know if I could have been as gracious, especially when it would have been so easy to give up and just die. Job's suffering and despair continues throughout this book; he loses his wife, his children, his home, his land, his livestock, everything that he ever had! (Kinda sounds like the basis of a good old country song, doesn't it?!) Well, Job suffered and his friends, as they were, came by to offer their opinion and advice, but it was mainly to try and figure out what Job possibly could have done to bring about all of this hardship upon himself. The thing is, Job didn't do anything. He didn't deserve any of these things that were happening to him. Job was a man of God. But just because he was a man of God that did not exempt him from suffering and pain. You may be asking yourself, "Why did God allow this?" or "Where is God during all of this suffering?" The echoes of these same questions have been whispered in courtrooms, rehab centers and at the deathbed of a loved one, but the answer remains the same. God made us free to choose to believe in Him and free to make our own choices within our own lives, but not free from the things of this world. If no one ever went through hard times, pain, suffering and even death, then we would be living in our own Heaven on earth. During those times of sufferring we do not have to question where God is, becaues He is always with us, waiting for us to seek Him. God will carry us through those hard times, even though the outcome may not always be what we wanted. If you are human, then in your lifetime you will experience some pain. The Good News is this; Even through the hard times-God is there, even in those times of death and devastation-God is there, even when we feel like cursing God and giving up-God is still there. God is there waiting with open arms and a shoulder to cry on and He will comfort us. Don't give up on God, because He will never give up on you. Praise Him in the calm and in the storm, for it is when you are praising Him there will be a love so pure and true that you will make it through no matter what may come your way. Here are two powerful verses from the book of Job. "Even if God kills me, I have hope in him; I will still defend my ways to his face." Job 13:15 "I know that you can do all things and that no plan of Yours(God) can be ruined." Job 42:2 I pray that you will live your life with those same beliefs . Blessings-Nicole

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