This past week there have been definite "shifts in the wind". Have you felt it? From every direction attacks are coming against God's people; everything from heart attacks to false accusations, to robberies, unexpected losses, to bad news. One right after another!
A friend called to tell how a family member had stolen a vehicle and forged a signature on checks and cashed them.
Then news arrived that a brother had suffered a heart attack.
A letter arrived to inform me that plans in the works were cancelled unexpectedly.
Someone had called, enraged and cursing their wife for no reason. She was in tears.
Still another turned on a sister without cause, venting anger.
Then comes a letter from overseas with news of another brain tumor found in a beloved friend.
All within the space of one week!
A Christian brother wrote to report of the ferocious wind in his life: "I have been in the devil's cross hairs lately."
The book of Job relates to a time when Job was devastated with bad news. A messenger came to Job to report that the Sabeans had stolen his oxen and asses and slew his servants. Then another messenger arrived to tell how a bolt of lightning had struck and burned up his sheep and the servants watching over them. And while he was speaking, another came to tell him that all his sons and daughters died when a "wind from the wilderness" tore up the house and all were left dead. Job's servants, his cattle, and all his children had been taken from him in a matter of hours.
All of this happened to a man that was declared to be "righteous."
The apostle Peter wrote:
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened
unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye
may be glad also with exceeding joy." (1 Pe 4:12-13)
Peter recognized that "fiery trials" were allowed...to "try us". To see our reaction--to force an examination of our faith and trust in the Lord.
Rejoice? When everything suddenly is taken away from us? When our world seems to have turned upside down? When our face is flooded with tears? When we are persecuted and suffer wrong?
Note how Job reacted:
"Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said
Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken
away; blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:20-21)
That is not to say that Job did not also grieve and shed many a tear. He did. Even during the time when "friends" came by to
cast doubts about his righteousness and insinuate he was suffering because of some unrepented sin. Even when his own wife
suggested that he just "curse God and die".
It can be hard to stand facing that wind, as it saps our strength to the point we may just want to give up and let it carry us away. But remember that the LORD is with us through every trial! He has promised, as the Good Shepherd, to make us to lie down peacefully in green pastures and once there, to restore our soul.
So I must remind myself; and you as well--that whatever direction the wind blows us, Goodness and Mercy follow.
MARY E. ADAMS