A major goal of wholesome, healthy Christians is the hope of reaching maturity before death overtakes us. I will tell you without hesitation that one of my major goals in life is to grow up as I grow older. A commendable etching on a gravestone would be: “Here lies a man who kept growing as he kept aging.” Growing up and growing old need to walk hand in hand. Never doubt it: maturing is a slow, arduous process. Job accomplished it; he reached that goal. Small wonder we read that he died an old man and full of days. He lived the rest of his 140 years full of enthusiasm and passion. What an enviable way to finish life.
When trouble comes we have two options. We can view it as an intrusion, an outrage, or we can see it as an opportunity to respond in specific obedience to God’s will—that rugged virtue James calls “endurance.”
Endurance is not jaw-clenched resignation, nor is it passive acquiescence. It’s “a long obedience in the same direction.” It’s staying on the path of obedience despite counter-indications. It’s a dogged determination to pursue holiness when the conditions of holiness are not favorable. It’s a choice in the midst of our suffering to do what God has asked us to do, whatever it is, and for as long as He asks us to do it. As Oswald Chambers wrote, “To choose suffering makes no sense at all; to choose God’s will in the midst of our suffering makes all the sense in the world.”
Where are you today? Where is your journey leading you? More important, which option have you chosen? Are you viewing your trial as an outrage or an opportunity? Try hard not to forget the lessons Job teaches us about ourselves. It will make an enormous difference. As you grow older, keep growing up. And, instead of simply reading about the life of Job, begin living that kind of life.
That makes all the sense in the world, doesn’t it?
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.