Sunday, June 22, 2014

Faith in the Face of Adversity / Guest

The life of Job beautifully illustrates the teachings found in the Lectures on Faith.

In reading the Old Testament for Sunday School I have gotten to the book of Job in my personal study.  As I read I am using the BYU student study manual to learn more.  At the start of the discussion of the book of Job the manual quotes an address from the Sixth Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium  held at Brigham Young University in January 1978 entitled “Job: ‘Yet Will I Trust in Him.’”  These remarks and my own experience recently will serve as the springboard for this second discussion topic.

Job had to endure some very hard things.  We read that when Satan wished to attack Job the Lord, initially, said 'anything goes except you cannot hurt him himself'.  Well that's all well and good but that leaves an awful lot of things to inflict, and indeed we read that he lost his children and livelihood.  And his response?  "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed is the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).

To enumerate Job's trials he had to endure:
1.  Lose it all.

2.  Rebuked of friends, imputing against his behavior, for surely he brought it on himself.
3.  Time's leavening sharpens the pain, this wasn't a short experience.  It is one thing to endure the initial shock of the losses.  But then to realize the day-to-day repercussions of loss and physical pain and rebuke is another trial entirely.
4.  Lord doesn't reply to prayers
5.  Job is awfully alone.

We can see in these trials a type of Christ who had to similarly endure these trials, and more.

What can we learn from Job?
How can we also endure our trials faithfully?
The parallel of Job to the Lectures on Faith reveals the pattern to follow.
1.  Know that God lives.
2.  Know His character, perfections, and attributes.  Know that He is a loving, merciful, kind Father who wishes nothing for us but to become as He is, and find eternal, lasting joy.
3.  Know that the course of life we are following is in accordance with His will.

By knowing that He lives and who He is we can realize that our experiences will refine us and bring us closer to Him, if we let them. These trials are not unfair burdens on us, nor is He a mean, vengeful God (or in other words, the universe is not out to get us).  But rather He loves us, we are his children, and we can find joy with Him again.

With that as foundation, it is necessary to know that our course of life is in accordance with his will.  Job proved to God, and more importantly to Himself, that he was willing to stay the course no matter what.  He knew, despite his " friends' " suggestions to the contrary, that he was faithfully doing the Lord's will.  When we have that assurance we can appreciate that what trials may come are to help us learn and grow. Whereas if we are not following His will, then the trials might just be consequences of our poor choices.  Though even then we are punished BY and FOR our trials, so that we are brought to repentance and again into harmony with His will.

Two recent experiences in my own life  

First, after a long and unproductive job search around the world I was in the temple praying about what I should do for work.  I had applied to big international firms, big national firms, regional firms, small firms, local firms, and no one was doing much work or hiring.  So after pouring out my thoughts, ideas, and feelings to the Lord I told Him I would clear my mind and listen, whatever He said then I would do.

Well you know once I did quiet down He did reply and said that I should start my own firm and work for myself.  Ok... I'm not a licensed Architect and need to work for others to get licensed so how is that going to work?  Doesn't matter.  What matters is that is what I need to be doing right now, for however long I need to, and if I am obedient and do all that I can the Lord will do the rest and make it happen.

Second, I wasn't finding a lot of work in California but was starting to find some.  Things were beginning to hit a rhythm and I had some good ideas to further network.  But, then after fasting one month I got an impression clear as words that we should move to Hawaii.  OK... will my folks be OK with that?  I'll have to find all new clients and work to to.  Doesn't matter. That is the Lord's will.  As long as I am doing His will, as He directs, I just need to do my best, relying on Him, and He will do the rest.

And sure enough my great folks have me working on plans for their home remodel.  The next door neighbor has me working on a new house for them up the coast.  And other opportunities arrive just when I need them to.


I know that God lives.  I learn a little more all the time about who He is, but I know enough to love and trust Him.  And I know that in many respects that my course of life is in accordance with His will and so I can do my best and know that the constant challenges are to help me.  This way I can remember I am a child of God, with intrinsic worth outside anything I accomplish, and that my Heavenly Father loves me, and you.  Because you have intrinsic worth as a child of God too.  And He loves you very much.

Please share your own experiences or insights about how we can endure as Job.  How we can bear up under the trials that come upon us?
Originally posted by Sonian in Manhood, Fatherhood, Priesthood: A forum of Advice, Insights, Council, and Loving Support on Sunday, 10 July 2010

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