Mission: Impossible (or, when you feel like Job)

It’s been a rough couple weeks. Actually it’s really been a rough couple months. No, wait… a rough couple years. 

I think most people, Christian or not, are familiar with the Bible story of Job. In case you’re not familiar, Job was a righteous man who for no apparent reason lost everything he had, one by one, until he was completely broken and beaten down. He lost his family, his home, his health… everything. 

Whenever Job was the topic of a Sunday school lesson the main idea seemed to be, “Job suffered worse than any of us do, and he still overcame, so you’re fine.”

But that is not what I get when I read about Job. 

I see a man I totally relate too. Like, “hey, it literally cannot get worse… oh wait, yes it can.” 

I think many people suffer like Job did; maybe not in exactly the same way, but people do also suffer trial after trial, beaten down until they feel they are nothing. 

I certainly have felt a bit like Job these past couple years. To the point where I just want to throw my hands up and say, “ok! I get it! Throw it all at me! It’s not like I can be brought any lower!” 

But I do. I get brought lower. And lower. Things I took for granted; health, family, friends… just to name a few, are suddenly revealed as vulnerable and not a given. 

I think about those days… the good old days, as a teenager, when I thought I suffered a lot, and boy was it hard, but I stayed strong through it. I was always told by adults, “I can’t imagine going through what you teens have to go through today.” And I always totally agreed with them. Like, “yea, I’ve been through a lot.” 

And as a teenager, that was a lot to go through. But now I would do ANYTHING to trade my current problems with the ones I had as a teen. In a heartbeat. It’s just not even on the same level. 

There comes a point, I think probably in everyone’s life, when your faith doesn’t feel like enough. When you look at your life, and you really don’t see how you’re going to get by. When you have a problem that absolutely HAS to be solved and you have no power to solve it. When you feel so completely alone in what you’re suffering that you rack your brain for someone to ask advice from and come up empty. 

I disagree with those Sunday school teachers. I think many, many people suffer like Job did. Because a vital lesson is learned when you feel like Job. Something you can only learn by experiencing. 

You cannot do it alone. 

When you’re beaten, when you have no one to call, when you have no solution, when all your energy is spent and your only option is to break down –you reach a tipping point that can change everything. You realize that the idea that God doesn’t try us past our abilities is a total lie. He DOES. He pushes us past our breaking point. Because when we’re standing on the edge of the precipice and our only option is to jump, that is where, if we look, we can see the arms of our Savior, reaching out to save us from our fall. 

We are tried above what we are able. Corinthians doesn’t promise we won’t be tried above our ability –it promises we won’t be tempted above our ability. 

God tries us past our breaking points so we learn exactly how much we rely on our Savior. Here’s a hint: it’s 100%. (But like I said, you only really learn that by experiencing.) We learn that with Him strengthening us, all things really are possible. 

So many things are impossible to us on our own. When we are asked to endure the impossible, it is then that we truly conquer. With the Savior by our side, building and lifting us up, strengthening us to carry those burdens. 

The Atonement of Christ is not just a cleansing power. It is an enabling power. 

We all can have trials like Job. We are not exempt from those struggles. And we cannot overcome them –not alone. But when we answer the ever present invitation from our Savior to come unto Him, we can do the impossible. 

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