“For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes."— Job 3: 25-26 Someone who takes you by the shoulders, looks in your face, and says, “Be of good cheer!” when you are in the midst of the hardest trials of your life, is either incredibly insensitive…or He is God.
Let me explain.
What if your worst nightmare came true?
“What I have dreaded,” Job lamented.
Honest in his despair, Job struggled to find peace and to reconcile all that happened to him. Ultimately, he declared, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
How do you do that?
How do you deal with your worst fear come true, and still say from your heart, that even if the Lord allows you to die, you will trust Him?
Job’s admission of a disturbed mind is what most of us would expect—of anyone or ourselves.
But look at what Jesus promised: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid…In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 14:27 and John 16:33).
What are we left with? Job’s initial lament or Jesus’ promise of peace?
Peace, and the joy that accompanies it, is not the absence of trouble. The peace that Jesus promises is a sense of security, confidence, and love that strengthens us in the midst of trouble. Trouble is inevitable. Jesus didn’t paint an unrealistic, rosy picture when He promised peace and joy. He said flat out, “You will have tribulation.”
He can look you in the eye and say, “Be of good cheer” because He knows the future, He knows the outcome, He knows the power of His love, and He KNOWS that He will never leave you nor forsake you, and that His strength will overcome.
That’s what Job discovered in his relationship with God. That’s how he could say, “Yet will I trust Him.”
“The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world sees not, like some well in a retired and shady place…What he is when left to himself and to his God, that is his true life.” —John Henry Newman, 18431
1.Newman, John Henry, Parochial and Plain Sermons (Ignatius Press, 1997, originally 1843), p. 1003.