This section (the final part) addresses the end of the struggle - when the butterfly breaks out of the cocoon and flies. It shows the reward that Job received after the suffering, and I talk about the gift that I have also received because of the grief I have experienced.
by Mindy Wilsford
Copyright © 2004 Mindy Wilsford
Job persisted in clinging to the hope (his head) even when he didnít feel like it in his heart.
10 But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
Job 23:10 (NKJV)
He knew what the outcome of the trial would be, what Peter tells us:
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 1:6-7 (NKJV)
Now you know that I couldnít pass up the chance to talk about the gold, after all Iím a metallurgist. When gold is refined the impurities come to the top where they can be removed. But to do that, the gold needs to be melted. It has to change its form completely and then after itís purified it becomes something completely new and more valuable. Likewise our faith changes form after the testing by fire.
I am seeing what a gift I have been given in losing Abigail. I am seeing how I have been deepened and strengthened by my grief, and I am seeing how much better a person I am becoming. As much as this has hurt and still hurts, I don't want to go back to who I was before or who I would have been if Abigail had been healthy.
I have gone from being afraid of deep emotion to focusing on that part of peopleís trials as a way to help them. Good thing, since you all know I wonít be cooking them any meals!
As Job worked through his suffering, he was transformed as well, and he finally got his heart in line with his head.
1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:
2 "I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
3 You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?'
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, 'I will question you, and you shall answer Me.'
5 "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
6 Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes."
Job 42:1-6 (NKJV)
Job has now experienced God and now he believes him and trusts him from the heart. His faith has been transformed like the gold in a way that is IMPOSSIBLE without going through a trial. What a gift! He now realizes that God is God and that he will never understand Godís ways. And remember that Job never found out why! And he doesnít need to. Neither do we. But it takes a long time for our hearts to believe that and for us to come to peace with it.
Now here is an incredible verse.
V7 And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.
Job 42:7-8 (NKJV)
Sisters, when we are struggling like Job and feeling what he has felt, it is normal and IT IS OK WITH GOD. God was pleased with Job, not because he didnít struggle, but because he persisted and worked through it. Thatís what we need to do. Thatís how we count it all joy. Thatís how we get the reward. What was Jobís reward? He got his friends and family back, regained his riches, his health, and had 10 more children.
But the real blessing was a closer relationship with God and better understanding of who God is and how to serve him better. Now he SEES God in a way he couldnít without the trial.
11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord--that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
James 5:11 (NKJV)
We wouldnít have thought this of Jobís trial, but what a gift Job was given!
And like Job finally my heart has started catching up with my head: (although Iím not completely finished yet), Iíve had my eyes opened to 3 truths:
I am now much more compassionate to others who are going through trials, since I KNOW it is not like what I might imagine it to be.
I thought God would comfort me and that my faith would ďcarry meĒ through the pain and minimize it. But I still had to work through the struggle in my heart. I have realized there is no way around the pain, faith or no faith.
All the emotions feel so much deeper and richer, and I think it is a gift to now feel things so deeply, because not only the pain is deeper but also the joy. The grief was so dark that the joy is much more colorful. And now I feel MORE blessed than those who didnít experience this, because I have received this gift that others havenít Ė I have experienced God in a way I never had before. Now I SEE him. (I didnít feel like this a year ago!) It just depends upon whether youíre looking at it from inside the cocoon or outside it.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Cor 1:3-4 (NKJV)
I think I am finally starting to really understand what this verse means. And now our hearts are finally ready to hear this!!
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
We can all be part of the called if we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins and was raised again on the third day, and if we repent of our sins and confess his name, being buried with him in baptism, rising to walk in newness of life. If we do those things and remain faithful throughout our lifeís struggles, we also will someday join God in heaven for eternity.
In closing, I would like to share with you some thoughts I wrote just before New Yearís. I felt as if I was on the verge of breaking out of the cocoon, but moving on to the next step was kind of scary.
Did the butterfly feel this way as he broke through the cocoon and glimpsed the sky? As he contemplated what lay ahead if he just spread those wings and tried them? Was he afraid, or did he eagerly leap into the air and begin to soar?
The butterfly must have had some fear, but he did it. And now he is soaring. Another step in his journey; another step in my journey.
Thank you for helping me soar.