“Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you. I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites; I hate the company of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.” (Psalm 26:1-5)
Job thought he was a good man, holy, righteous, and deserving of good things. But when God allowed the Evil One to have its/his/her way with Job, Job’s faith was shaken and tested. If you know the story of Job, you know how it all came out. But if you do not, I am not going to tell you. The story of Job continues next week, and at that point I will reveal the ending – but not just yet. If you are curious, read the book of Job yourself.
“I wash my hands in innocence, and go around your altar, O Lord, singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all your wondrous deeds. O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides.” (Verses 6 – 8)
You may think you are a good person too, holy, righteous, and deserving of good things. But then when adversity and crisis come upon you, your faith is shaken and tested. It would be an unusual life if you did not have adversity and crisis come upon you at one time or another. And how you dealt with it would say a great deal about it you.
Did you weep and wail? Go to the Lord asking the Divine how that could have happened to you, of all people? Did you go to the Psalms, and find comfort there? Or other biblical passages that spoke to your feelings and condition? Did you vent and rail against the Lord in anger? Or plead with the Lord for rescue? Did you have faith and conviction that the Lord would see you through? Or did you abandon God, thinking the Lord has abandoned you? If that is so, then this year is for you, to come back to God.
“Do not sweep me away with sinners, nor my life with the bloodthirsty, those in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes.” (Verses 9 and 10)
It is at times of trial and adversity that things could go either way; to be “swept away with sinners” or to draw closer to the Lord. Those are not the only options of course. And we can pick and chose how we respond and deal with our problems. Again, Job is a good story of how one can make those choices.
“But as for me, I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.” (Verses 11 and 12)
It takes conviction and faith – not necessarily great because I do not want you to think, beloved reader, that it is beyond you – to praise God in the midst of adversity. Once again, the story of Job . . .
I hope and prayer, beloved reader, that your times of trial and adversity are brief and swift in the passing. I know that God is faithful even when we think all things and hope is lost. I could tell you page after page how I have seen that true in my life and how it continues to be. May you find it so for yourself. Selah!