In the late afternoon of January 2, 2010, the island nation of Haiti was rocked to its core. An earthquake landing on the Richter scale at 7.0 magnitude began under the capital city of Port-au-Prince and radiated out, devastating everything in its reach for miles and miles and miles. The death toll at the time I’m writing this has risen over 200,000. Thousands upon thousands more are injured, homeless, or both.
We can sit in our comfortable homes from the safety of our own country and watch on TV the agony on the faces of the people of Haiti, hear the desperation and the pain in their voices, and feel sympathy for them. We are sad when we see what has happened there, and we naturally want to help. Thousands of Christians already are. But let’s not kid ourselves. We are not safe. Our comfort is temporary.
At any given minute, we can experience a devastating earthquake of our own.
Of course, the catastrophe you and I face will probably not be in the form of a literal earthquake. But if you’ve lived for any substantial length of time on this earth, you know you’re only a heartbeat away from a devastating phone call, a devastating email or letter, a devastating announcement from a spouse or child or friend or boss. It may come from the bank. It may come from your church. It may come from your own body, announcing to you in sudden symptoms that something is terribly wrong inside.
We are only a heartbeat away from being rocked to our core.
It usually comes as a surprise when it happens, but the fact that it happens should be no surprise. Jesus himself said to his followers in John 16:33, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.”
There it is, straight from our Lord’s mouth. If you’re gonna live, you’re gonna have trouble. If you’re gonna live, you’re gonna go through some really difficult times. If you want to live victoriously—in your family life, in your business, in your marriage, in your spiritual growth—you have to accept the fact that nobody gets to victory without struggle. But while we may not know when our world is going to be rocked, we can be prepared for when it is.
What do you do when your spouse says it’s over? What do you when your boss says your services are no longer needed? What do you do when your friends bail on you? What do you do when your house is foreclosed on, when your child gets cancer, when your loved one dies, when the doctors say it’s serious? What do you do when the storms of life show up unannounced and take your home, your family, or your health?
Throughout this book we’re going to look at the life of Job, a man who had it all and had it all taken away. Job was someone who had his world rocked, totally. If you have ever been there, or if you want to be prepared for that time to come when you may be there, you can find no greater encouragement and no greater assurance than this powerful story from God’s word. Over the next six chapters, we are going to explore God’s purposes for pain and the practical help He gives us to make our way through it, into radical success over it, and radical trust of God in it.