During difficult times what do you find yourself looking at or thinking about? Is your vision filled with the pain and struggle of your circumstances? Or do you make an intentional effort to put your eyes on Jesus?
This past week we have been reading through Job chapters 27-31. In these chapters Job is expressing his struggle. He describes his heartache, and the price he is paying for all the bad things that have happened to him. We learn that there is fallout from all the calamity that has fallen on Job. Not only has Job lost his children, his livestock, and his health– we also learn that Job has lost his reputation as well. Job was once a man who was held in high esteem by everyone in the village where he lived. Now he is mocked even by the lowest of the low.
I believe that if I were to find myself in Job’s position, I would lose all hope. My eyes would be focused on my circumstances and the hardship I was living through and I would probably be lost there. I don’t know that I would be able to take my eyes off myself and look to God and remember that God doesn’t change even though my circumstances have dramatically taken a turn for the worst. I would probably assume the worst of God.
We see in chapter 30 that Job has lost sight of some of God’s goodness. Job still has hope that one day god will explain all that is happening, but he feels that God is abusing him and he doesn’t know why.
“With a strong hand, God grabs my garment. He grips me by the collar of my tunic. He has thrown me into the mud. I have become as dust and ashes.” Job 30:18-19
It can be so very easy to fall into this trap. We begin to feel sorry for ourselves and get caught up in the overwhelming pain of our circumstances. I have found myself doing this more often than I want to admit. I have a habit of pity parties. It seems more natural to me to feel sorry for myself and to assume that God is punishing me or just being mean rather than stop and remember the truth about who God is and what he has done for me.
Job clearly has a vision of God as holy and exalted, but he seems to forget God’s goodness in the midst of his suffering. Learning to keep our hearts reminded of God and who He is can be a difficult job when we are finite and God is infinite. So how do we work to fight against our own tendency towards self-pity? How do we keep the proper perspective during difficult times.
So what should we do? How do we keep our eyes focused on Jesus and not on the pain of our circumstances.
- Memorize scripture that describes God’s character.
- Don’t forget to pray – often when we’re struggling we want to pull away from God. Instead we need to lean into him.
- Practice thankfulness – make a list of 10 things each day that you can be thankful for.
- Revisit the teachings of Jesus. Jesus is God incarnate, so that is a beautiful way for us to remember who God is and what he desires for us.
- Read the Psalms. – David was so honest with his heartbreak. He didn’t try to hid from God the pain he was experiencing, but in most of David’s Psalms you find that he ends with praise. No matter where David was emotionally when he started his writing he ended with declaring praise to God.
- Take a walk outside and take a look around you. Look at the starry skies, and remember that the God who made you made the universe and it is way bigger than we can begin to imagine. Just dwell on that for a bit.
Our sinful nature pulls us towards self-pity, we must fight that pull and work in intentional ways to remember who God is and the value of what he has done for us. When we stop and consider the power of Jesus’ death on the cross in light of our present sufferings, and how his death purchased us for all eternity, perspective changes a little more easily.
This post is part of the Blogging through the Bible series with Good Morning Girls. For more information and free resources, be sure you head over to GoodMorningGirls.org or click the button below.