Four Vital Considerations on the Worst Day of Your Life

by Dennis Michelson
(Painesville, Ohio)

The Book of Job

Introduction: The preaching of God's Word is about engaging people where they are and helping them get to where God wants them to be. I recently was contacted by a man who stated that he had just gone through the "worst month of his life."

After hearing his story it became quite evident that his bleak assessment was probably true. When we come to the story of the ancient patriarch named Job we encounter a man who was having the worst day of his life.

The inspired record of this man's ordeal allows us to see a number of things we might not normally see or know when we encounter similar situations in our own lives and ministries. This message draws four vital considerations for us to think about when it seems that life is simply out of control.

Larry Crabb used to say that some days life was "unspeakably sad." This certainly runs counter to the vision of the Christian life portrayed by much of the preaching and teaching today.

1. Consider Yourself

The Bible states that Job had a sterling testimony before all of his adversity descended upon him. Sadly, we cannot always say the same for ourselves or those around us. If you have assurance that you are a genuine believer in the Lord Jesus Christ then you can definitely rule out one factor and honestly consider another.

  • These things cannot be punishment!

    Every bit of punishment which we justly deserve was laid upon our Substitute - Jesus Christ. God is not attempting to exact some kind of punitive payment from you. Everything you owe has been paid. "Jesus paid it all."

  • These things could be corrective.

    Sometimes correction sure feels like punishment but it is not. Perhaps God is purifying you by allowing you to pass through the furnace of affliction and the crucible of circumstances.

    The trial of your faith is counted as a precious thing in God's Word and we need to consider the possibility that God is pruning or purifying us for greater usefulness and service.

2. Consider Your Enemy

The Devil has nothing but ill will and evil intentions for anyone who seeks to take a stand for the Lord. If you have serious designs on following Jesus then you are a prime target for the Enemy of your soul. Satan is an astute theologian and knows he cannot claim your soul but he takes great delight in trying to destroy your life.

  • You ultimately have one enemy.

    The Devil is the enemy and everything and everyone else are victims of your enemy. If you are spending all of your energy fighting an "enemy" you can see then you are not really fighting the enemy.

    Job's experience allows us to look beyond secondary causes and consequences and see the nefarious tactics of the enemy and hear the hiss of the serpent behind Job's dilemma.

  • Your enemy is limited.

    The Devil can only go as far as God will let him. God is sovereign, Satan is not. God is omniscient, Satan is not. God is omnipresent, Satan is not. The enemy is very powerful but he is not all-powerful. Never underestimate or overestimate the enemy.

3. Consider Your Family and Friends

With family and friends like Job then who needs enemies? We need to learn that when the enemy cannot get to us then he will set his sights on those close to us. Beware pastors! When the enemy cannot get you then he will go after your wife in order to get to you.

If that fails, then he will seek to take your children hostage and use them to divert you from God's will for your life. The same can be said for friends. Genuine friends often mean well when they seek to instruct, comfort, or even rebuke us but their perspective is always limited and often counter-productive. Job's "friends" are certainly a case in point.

4. Consider Your God

After 37 chapters of a lot of speculation with very little revelation, God says, "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" Remember, God does not ask questions of us in order to obtain information He does not already know. He asks questions of us to help us see what we do not know.

In 40:2 God says "Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it." We need to understand that if we do not like the way our day (or month) is going then we ultimately have a problem with the way God is running the universe - as well as our own lives. This is a difficult concept for many to grasp when they are in the midst of adverse trials.

In 40:14 God states "Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee." Shall we who have entrusted the salvation of our souls to God not in like manner commit to Him the ordering of our lives. Please spare me the theological and logical gymnastics here. Who is in charge? You? Your family and friends? Satan? God?

Jeremiah Burroughs, in his sermon The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment said "When God deals with us otherwise than we would have him do, if one sense worse than another can be put upon it, we will be sure to do it." When affliction befalls you God has said that all of this will work together for good.

You should think thus: it may be God intends only to try me by this thing or it may be that God saw my heart was too much set on the creature and not the Creator. Obviously God saw something which I am not capable of seeing for the present. I would better my position but God would better my soul.

Conclusion: Those of us who engage in counseling will often hear people rant and rave about my family, my friends, my employer or my spouse. Rarely do people get honest enough to say "I am mad at my God." Oh yes, in Job's case, the Lord blessed him in the end but we need to be more focused on the Blesser than the Blessing.

Grace is when God gives us what we do not deserve. Mercy is when He withholds from us what we justly deserve. Even on the worst day of our lives we need to remember that our God is still gracious and merciful toward us.

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