This Sunday we’re starting a new sermon series titled, “Comeback.” Me, personally? I’m all about a comeback. I love the underdog and the down-and-out, the one who proves everybody, and their mama, wrong.
Who doesn’t love a great story like that?
There are a lot of comebacks in the Bible. In fact, it’s filled with them. Think Moses, Elijah, David, Ruth, the Apostle Peter and the one and only Jesus. Our God is a comeback God. He’s the Father of a family made up of “more than conquerers through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37.
One of my favorite comeback stories is about an Old Testament guy named Job. If you’ve not read the book of Job, it’s a doozie.
Job was regarded as the most righteous man on the planet at his time. He had lots of sons and daughters and incredible wealth.
In a terrible turn of events, Job lost it all. I mean, ALL of it, except a few sketchy friends and a wife who I’m not so sure could be called an actual blessing.
What’s worse, after losing everything, he got really sick and had awful boils all over his body. Job was stunned by all that had happened to him. He knew that everything he possessed and had accomplished could be attributed 100% to God’s goodness toward him. And yet there he was, crushed beyond what he thought he deserved.
Sitting in a pile of dust using a potsherd to scrape crusty scabs off of his body, Job was deeply hurt by God’s silence and lack of rescue. In his heart, he questioned God and what all this misery was about.
Job had no home, no children, no money, not even a decent pet dog; just a couple of friends who incessantly prod him to own up to his sin, because surely he had some kind of secret sin somewhere that God had found out about. After all, they reasoned, that was the only explanation for why all of this was happening.
And last but not least, Job had that gem of a wife who uttered those famous King James Version words, “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die” (verse 9).
When Job fell, he fell hard.
Incredibly, God let Job flounder for another 36 chapters before He finally addresses him to set the record straight about what was really taking place.
“Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me,” (verse 38:1-3).
It’s about to get real, apparently.
As it turns out, God hadn’t left Job on His own. He was, in fact, there in the midst of Job’s great pain. Oh, and before He was with Job, He also happened to be keeping the universe in order ….including setting the earth’s foundation …. and walking the ocean floor …. and numbering the stars …. and overseeing the birth of animals in the forest …. basically doing everything that all of us take for granted about this amazing God of ours. And yet, somehow we still buy the lie that He doesn’t have a plan for us as His people, His greatest treasure.
Job, like so many of us when we are in pain and suffer loss, had made a huge miscalculation about God’s sovereignty in his life. Job thought God was absent and unloving because God wasn’t doing things the way he thought he should, but he couldn’t have been more wrong.
You might be wondering what God’s point was. Was it just to prove that He’s superior? (Though He is, undeniably. He’s God.) Was it to make Job look like a fool, though, let’s be honest, hindsight is pretty convincing in this case.
No, God had a comeback in mind for Job. And it was a comeback that hinged on Job making a decision about who God was to him, regardless of his circumstances.
Was God Job’s God, or not?
You see, God is never satisfied with us going through life living like He’s a side note, someone we glance at in the margins of our life, depending on how life is going for us. He wants to be the One we love with our whole hearts and acknowledge as God, especially on the dark days.
I love how beautifully The Message captures Job’s heart who finally discovers the incomparable sweetness of a personal relationship with a sovereign God: “I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand – from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry – forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” Job 42:5-6
God loves Job. And here’s what you must believe: God loves you, too.
He wants you to know that He has a better way for you — no matter how perfect or imperfect we think we are; no matter how many successes or failures we’ve had. If we will submit to Him as God, He can use our lives to glorify Him, which is our greatest honor as Christians.
While excruciatingly painful at times, through Job’s story we see that God is not moved by our situation; He’s moved with compassion for our return from defeat because He’s a compassionate God — the One who’s limited the seas and hails the morning each day because He can — and He does — for our benefit.
Often times we want to curse the painful season. Yet God wants to use it as our comeback. Our comeback from all the things that are trying to derail us from being in a real and honest relationship with Him, whose plans for us are perfect.
We hope you’ll “come back” this Sunday to find out more about this amazing God of ours.
We’ll see you then!
Awaken and Equip
Faith Center exists to awaken people to a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ and membership in the church family and equip them to fulfill their God-given purpose of maturity in Christ, ministry in the church body and missional living in the world.