What if you, as a follower of Jesus Christ, suddenly found yourself with nothing in this world. What if you, like Job, had your possessions stripped away, your family decimated, and your health was in serious decline (Job 1:12-19 & 2:6-8)? What if, in your deep misery, your own beloved spouse counseled you to 'curse God and die' (Job 2:9)? What if you found yourself in the position of the beggar Lazarus, covered with sores and desiring to be fed with the scraps that fell from the rich man's table, while the dogs came and licked your sores (Luke 16:20-21)?
I am well aware that there are those who teach that people of faith will not undergo such devastations. They say that the lot of God's people, in this life, is prosperity in both health and material things. But was not Job a man of faith? Did he not say, immediately upon the onset of his calamity,"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21)? Did he not also say, “shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil” (Job 2:10)? It is true that God had to humble Job and teach him much truth (Job 42:6). Job was not perfect in his faith, but then, who is? Was not Lazarus a true son of Abraham, even in his misery? Did he not pass from this life into the bosom of Abraham while the rich man went to Hell (Luke 16:22-23)?
It is apparent that while God is faithful to His people, as He has said He would be, it is also apparent that God deals with His people in ways that may seem, to us, contradictory. Consider the scores of believers who were imprisoned, tortured and martyred, by the Romans, in the first centuries of the church, by the Roman Catholic Inquisitions in the 12th through the 18th centuries, and all those in between. Consider the many who continue to be persecuted and martyred in Islamic lands to this very day! In the midst of such calamitous events people may not be able to understand God's ways. That is not important. What is important is that people continue, grounded in the faith, in the midst of any adverse worldly circumstances. How is this possible?
Only if we, like our father in the faith, Abraham (Romans 4:8-12) 'fear not' because God, Himself, is our shield and our very great reward (Genesis 15:1.)In the midst of whatever befalls us we must remember that having the Lord for us, by faith in Christ, is more than enough (Romans 8:31). Whether we have anything or nothing in this life, whether we enjoy peace or conflict, whether we are well or ill, we have the favor of God, in Christ, upon us, now and in eternity, and that must be enough for us. If it is not we will not be able to endure what may come.