“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.” (Job 23:10, NIV).
In the book of Job we read of a righteous man who faced uncertainty, terrible hardship, and utter despair. Each one of us shall also face a hardship that will shake us to the core. Crying out in our despair we ache to hear from God and to hear His promise of relief from the pain. The truth is that He does hear our cry and speak His promise, but so often our pain gets in the way. James writes that we are to “consider it pure joy” when we go through trials because those trials have the potential to produce faith (James 1:2-4). When faced with hardship do we look for the positive aspect which creates greater faith? Sometimes an overwhelming hardship hangs on until the point where we believe we are going under. At that moment we long to know that one day that hardship will end―one day we will have peace. Jesus told us we would have hardship in this world, but to hold on to the truth that He has overcome it (John 16:33). That is His promise.
“'Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?' says the Lord. “'Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?' says your God” (Isaiah 66:9, NIV). The Lord doesn't close up the womb, but with delivery comes His promise. The Lord brings delivery from our overwhelming hardship―in His perfect time. “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son” (Isaiah 66:7). God protects us from the greatest pain we could experience at the time of delivery. He knows what we can handle and what we can't. He allows just enough hardship during our “pregnancy” to make us reach a little higher in trusting Him. But He protects from the hardship that would utterly destroy our growing faith. What we may consider the worst struggle in our “pregnancy” is not. He makes the delivery of our promise easier than we ever anticipate.
There is promise of release from the hardship which overwhelms. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV). Shall we have confidence in His promise of peace? Will we hang on and find His will? Do we believe that His promise is real, and that He richly rewards our diligence? During our time of spiritual “pregnancy” will we discover His truths that encourage our faith in Him? Do we believe that His delivery will come? Well, I choose to believe that my weeping lasts for only a night, and that His joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5b). I choose to forget the former things, and believe in the promise He has for me (Isaiah 43:18-19). I choose to let go of the former things which have defined me, and believe with all my heart that He has something new.
God always knows where we are headed. He knows what is to come. He has not closed up the womb. We shall be delivered. He tests our faith to make it more resilient. In His refining process we are remade in Him―molded as He wishes. Victorious over what might have otherwise destroyed us, we will know that He has overcome our world with His peace. Like Job we shall come out as pure gold.
Lynn Hampton Lacher