Jeremiah and Lamentations, can be hard books to read. Job can be a hard book to read. Their suffering can be overwhelming. But when you’re in your own hard times, these books give you solace as you realize that others have felt as you feel and thought what you think. They give you strength as you realize they lived through their hard times and remained faithful. They give you courage because they knew God as He really is—and they help you to learn to trust in the Living God.
Joseph and Daniel were other men who persevered under difficulties and threats. Ruth and Esther were women who were faithful; Ruth in the drudgery of poverty and Esther in the shadow of absolute power and a man who wanted to destroy her people. In James 5, James writes of the endurance of Job, and as he urges prayer, he gives the example of Elijah, and encourages us to pray because, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours…”
These were all men and women with a nature like ours. They are witnesses to us that God is faithful—they were kept by God as they lived through their hard times—we, too, will be kept by God as we live through ours. By their lives we are encouraged to persevere. They are men and women who believed God and learned to trust Him in their darkest hours.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Don’t be apprehensive of these books that are hard to read. We need to know these men and women who made it. God reveals His tender mercies towards us by giving us tough books for our tough times.
The Prophet Elijah, Daniele da Volterra: Public Domain.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter