Focus.

Guest Post by April Drake

Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”  At first glance, this verse can be a relief.   We may think, Oh thank the Lord!  Everything happens for a reason!  These thoughts are as comforting as they are true, but what is also true is that some of those seasons that occur under heaven are dark and heavy.

I can guarantee you that there have been years in my life where I wondered, Lord, Why is this happening?  Why isn’t anything working out right?  Why does this hurt so much?  Why is this taking so long?  Why?  Why?  Why?

I can also guarantee you that at 42 years old, I still don’t have the answers to all of these burning questions.  The Lord has revealed some of his reasons to me over time, but I also have to realize, as we all do, that I may never know the “why” of some things this side of heaven.  That thought can nearly drive me into a panic attack at times, however, one of the things the Lord has revealed to me is this—a hard life can equal a great testimony.

Who would know better about a hard life than Job?  And, wouldn’t you know it, my promise from the Lord is straight out of Job.  So, guess what else that means?  I can fully relate to Job because I have gone through overwhelming and painful trials myself.  At times, we all feel like we have endured the trials of Job.  They aren’t pleasant but, if we keep in mind how it all ended for Job, then we know that they are worth it.  

Job received magnificent blessing after all his suffering.  He refused to “curse God and die” and the Lord rewarded him for it.  Our trials are not wasted if we keep our focus on the Lord.  It’s tough.  It’s rough.  There will be plenty of times we want to give up, give in, and just quit, but we can’t because we ALL have the promises of the Lord.  They are YES and AMEN.  God is not a liar, so He has to keep the promise He made to you.

Job suffered greatly.  He lost his children, his possessions, and even his health, only to be left with a nagging wife and crappy “friends.” 

But, God!

The Lord didn’t leave Job in the ash heap, and He won’t leave me there.  He won’t leave you there.  He won’t leave anyone there!

“The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first …” (Job 42:12) In the long run, all that Job lost, all the trials that he endured, brought him to the greatest blessing of his life, simply because he endured and clung to the Lord like superglue.

At the beginning of his life, if the Lord had given Job a choice, I doubt he would have chosen loss, sadness, loneliness, and disease but, in the end, all of the heartache made the blessing all the more greater!  If we could talk to Job right now, I bet he would tell us that when the “latter part” of his life began, he reveled in every, single, tiny and massive ounce of blessing God poured over him.  He appreciated it like no other because he knew what it was like to have his heart ripped out of his chest and still have to live and breathe and make it from one day to the next.

If the Lord had given me a checklist at the beginning of my life, I would have chosen all the happy occasions that I could.  I definitely NEVER would have checked off all the shortcomings, struggles, and anxieties that life has brought me.  Who would? But, you can bet your bottom dollar that I am going to revel in EVERY glorious, magnificent, and splendid ounce of blessing the Lord has coming my way!  

I am still waiting on much of what I have always prayed for in my life, however I am currently living at least some of the prayers that I used to pray, and I am learning to be grateful for what has been answered while I am hopeful and thankful for what the Lord is bringing me in the rest of this “latter part” of my life.

The last two verses of Job should be a beacon of light to us all. It is my specific promise from the Lord, but is also a promise to everyone that the Lord can bring the ABSOLUTE BEST to fruition, even after the trials of Job. “After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years: he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years.” (Job 42:16-17)

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