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What Have You Learned from Your Hardship?

People tell about their hardships.
Somewhere in their conversation they say, “But I hope I’ve learned what God wants me to learn.”
There is that element that we should learn from our mistakes.
After all “practice makes perfect” doesn’t work if you are practicing wrong.
You must do it right to get it perfect.
So we must evaluate what we have done to see if this hardship is a consequence of our own actions.
Like in kindergarten, if you don’t play nice, you won’t have friends.

But…

As Christians, we have absorbed the world’s philosophy and Christianized it by thinking we must “learn from this experience” to make it "worth it."

Before you stop reading, hear me out.

Job suffered. A LOT.
Job lost everything and everyone.
He was left alone covered in boils on the dung hill of the city.
His friends came to “comfort” him.
What they did was tell him that he must have done something wrong—that he must “learn” from and correct.
Before these friends arrived, Job had months to evaluate what he had done.
He had already concluded that he'd done nothing wrong to correct.

What then?
That's why he was in distress.
He had no answers for his suffering.

What could he do to correct this mess he was in?
Since he did nothing to get into this mess, he could not correct it to make it better.

The world thinks we dictate our destiny, that we control our lives, that if we do good—good will always happen.
But it doesn’t.
Good people suffer.
Nice people die, while mean people live, it seems, forever.
And if we learned anything from 2020, it should have taught us that we can’t control our destiny.

Job was confused.
Since he could not correct something he was doing, did he suffer for no reason?

Job is a type of Christ—our suffering Savior.
Jesus suffered. A LOT.
He also had nothing to correct.
He had nothing to “learn from.”
Was His suffering for no reason?
Of course not!

He suffered because of our sin.
In a sense, I'm glad He took my suffering. 
Because I couldn’t have done it.
God needed a perfect sacrifice to pay for our sin.

What was the result of Job’s suffering?
What did he learn?

He learned nothing from his friends who kept telling him to correct his wrong and get blessed. 

But then God spoke.

Did God explain why he was suffering?
No.

As far as we know, Job never learned about God's competition with Satan told about in chapter one, where God commended Job to Satan and Satan challenged God, saying Job only served God because He blessed him.

Job never knew why he suffered.

Most of the time, we will never know why we go through our hardships.
That’s not for us to know.
Would we even understand the why?
If we knew the “why” would we trust God?

So what did Job learn from his suffering?

God told Job nothing of the reason for his suffering.
But He did tell a lot about Who He is.

He told how He created the world, how He used wisdom to set the earth in place, how He started the water cycle, how He established the animals in their habitats, and how He established the winds to bring what’s needed…

God gave Job no answer to why he was suffering.
But after God finished talking, Job knew God was in charge.

God was in change, not just of creation, if that wasn’t enough, but He was in charge of what happened with Job right that minute.
And He’s in charge of what is happening to you right now. 
He sees.
He knows.
He still loves.
He will fix everything when He chooses.

What did Job do after God showed him all these things?
Did he say, “I understand now. Thanks for teaching me.”
No!

He said, like Isaiah, “Who am I to question You!”
Job worshipped.

What should we do when we have hardship?
We worship.

As we worship, we listen to God.
He convicts us if we've sinned.
He forgives us.
He conforms us to His Son so we don’t repeat the sin and suffer its consequences again.
But sometimes we didn't cause it, we have nothing to change except...

We worship Him.
And accept His control of everything.


How did your worship change after a hardship?
 

I write about what matters...to you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what matters...to Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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