It’s one of the most iconic scenes in all of the Bible, as God and the devil make a cosmic wager, of sorts.
The angels come before God, to present their reports on what they’ve witnessed on the Earth. And in the throne room, also comes the fallen angel we know as Satan, the Accuser.
And God has a question for him: Have you seen my servant Job? God then brags on Job a bit, noting his commitment to what is right and true.
But Satan essentially bets God that Job’s righteousness is all a front, a façade, much like a movie set – all hat and no cowboy, as the saying goes in Texas. Satan bets that if God allows him to take away everything Job has – and the Bible tells us Job was quite rich – then Job would buckle, curse God and become like any other man.
You’re on, God says.
So, from then on, just about the worst things imaginable happen to Job. Even all of his many children die, and he is, himself, infected with a horrible, flesh-eating disease.
Yet, the Bible says, while Job severely questions God, and says some foolish things, he ultimately manages to praise God, and repent of his foolishness. And God restores everything Job had, plus much more.
Troubling aspects of the story aside (and there are certainly more than enough for any serious student of Scripture to grapple with), the story reveals an important question for us all:
What will we do when we come under the pressure of “The Squeeze?”
For some of us, a bad day is enough to reduce us to a whimpering mess, questioning our very existence.
But life has a way of bringing truly horrible things our way. Even for those of us who truly love God, and know God, and do what He says, there will come a day when we stare death in the face, as we watch loved ones wither, or we receive the worst phone call imaginable, and we collapse, stunned, to the floor.
Maybe it could be something less than death, but still difficult: The loss of a job. A career. Or a home. The loss of your health, or a spouse’s, amid a sudden painful diagnosis.
You never know when The Squeeze will come, or in what form.
But the Bible tells us it is coming.
And in that day, and in that hour, what will be left of you? When the fire comes to devour all that you think you are, when the wind blows hard against what you have built, when it feels like everything is falling apart, and there is no relief in sight – what then?
Jesus tells us there are two possible outcomes in that moment: You will stand. Or you will fall.
And the only thing that makes a difference will be on your preparation, namely: To what did you choose to anchor your life?
Jesus tells the story this way: You can build your house on the sand, the things of this world, influenced by the world’s changing opinions, its ever-shifting priorities, its ever-changing morality, ever blown this way and that to make sure we are in line with what everyone else is doing, saying and thinking. Or we can build our houses on The Rock, the true confession, the never-changing, eternal reality of God’s Word.
As Jesus tells it, the wind will come. The waters will rise. The storms will rage. It’s only a matter of when.
In that moment, will you still praise, and lift your hands to bless the One who controls it all? Or will you, in anger and hurt, choose to lash out and curse the very One who gave you life?
For in that moment, the truth of your existence will be known, as all the trappings, accents and shiny baubles are stripped away, revealing what you’re really made of – or more precisely, what and Who dwells inside you.
Today, we encourage you: Do not let these words tear you down, or cause you to fear. Rather, commit today to begin anchoring your life to The Rock that is higher, and stronger, than anything else in this world. Daily, read the Word. Pray. Seek God.
Give your pain and hurt over to the One who heals every wound, who will wipe every tear from our eyes.
Allow God’s ways to replace yours, allow His Words to replace yours, allow His thoughts to replace yours, as you submit yourself to such disciplines of Scripture as prayer, fasting and honoring of the Sabbath.
God loves you. He is ever near to those who seek Him, come what may.