Perhaps the oldest book in the Bible tells the story of a man who is one of the most famous examples of perseverance in history. Job had every reason to quit on life, on himself, and even on God, but he persevered. Even 3,500 years after this man lived, his story is still worth reading and hearing.
He was coasting down the highway of life with nothing but blue sky and bright sunshine in front of him until he rounded a curve and ran head on into the destruction of his wealth, the death of his children, and the disease that would wrack his body. Not only was he tempted to quit, but even his closest friends and his own wife told him to quit.
Life is like that for all of us sooner or later. You round a curve in your life, and all of a sudden you see a sign. But it won’t say “stop”; it will say “QUIT!” You will be broadsided by events you never anticipated and you will be tempted to quit, or you will be discouraged because of something somebody said and you will be tempted to quit, or you will fail where you thought you were going to succeed and you will be tempted to quit. You may be thinking of doing that right now.
Consider: you will never read biographies of great quitters. You will never see a long line of followers behind great quitters. No man in the Bible, outside of Jesus Christ Himself, suffered more than Job. It would even be fair to say that outside of Jesus, no man suffered more unjustly and more unfairly than Job. Job did not bring any of his troubles on himself.
If Job had responded the way the most people do, this book would have never been written and Job’s name would have never been known. Thankfully he persevered and we learn from this man some lessons that remind us that tough times never last, but tough people do, if we remember them and apply them.
1. We will face problems that will make us want to quit
Job asked the most natural questions: “Why?” and “Why me?” and “How do I get out of this mess?” But the question we should be asking in the midst of our trials is, “What should I get out of this?” Life’s difficulties are not meant to defeat you, depress you, or even discourage you; they are meant to develop you. Problems are not tools to tear you down; they are tests to build you up.
2. We will hear people tell us to quit
Job has been bathed in an ocean of defeat, devastation, death, disease, and depression. Then came a wave of discouragement, which Job didn’t see coming. It is one thing to be tempted to quit, to give in, give out, and give up. It is another thing to be told to do it by the people closest to you especially when it is your own wife!
But Job continued to do the right thing by not responding in the wrong way. Later, he will confront God, but he will never curse God. He will reason with God, but he will never reject God. He will stand up to God, but he will never walk away from God. He knows there is only one voice to listen to and it is to the God who will never quit on you, and you should never quit on him.
3. We must have the perspective that ensures we don’t quit
Job looks like he is on his last leg, as if he has no fight left. You couldn’t really blame him if he decided to throw in the towel. Most people would have, and a lot of people do. But Job quit looking down. He started looking up, and that made all the difference.
Job didn’t wallow in self-pity. He didn’t walk away from God but went to God in worship. No blame, no bitterness, no whining, no cursing, no “How dare you do this to me knowing what an upright man I’ve been.” He gives God what God always deserves in good times and bad: worship. Job’s entire world had walked out on him, but he would not walk out on God. No victory has ever been won by going backward! Keep moving forward with your eyes on the One who will never quit on you, and the victory will be yours.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – James Merritt is a pastor, author, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and host of the Touching Lives television program. Excerpted with permission from Character Still Counts by James Merritt, published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 97408. Copyright 2020, James Merritt. www.harvesthousepublishers.com)