“You know how we call those blessed (happy) who were steadfast [who endured]. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the Lord’s [purpose and how He richly blessed him in the] end, inasmuch as the Lord is full of pity and compassion and tenderness and mercy” (James 5:11 Amp).
North Carolina native Luther Bridgers began preaching at age seventeen while attending Asbury College in Kentucky. Afterward, he developed a reputation as an effective pastor and church planter. The Lord blessed him with a wonderful wife and three precious boys. In 1910, Luther took his family to visit the in-laws near Lexington. One night a nearby neighbor awoke and watched the house go up in flames where the Bridgers slept. Luther’s mother and father-in-law escaped but his wife and sons perished. Luther himself had to be restrained from re-entering the collapsing inferno.
During the long slow recovery from overwhelming grief, Luther suffered deep depression but recalled Bible promises of ‘songs in the night’ “Where is God my Maker Who gives songs in the night” (Job 35:10b NKJV). Time marched on and Mr. Bridgers continued preaching. Perhaps, he read the book of Job to soothe his grieving soul. Job’s story begins with a heavenly debate between God and Satan. Satan roamed all the earth looking for others to join his army of demons. Having full trust and confidence in Job, God suggested, “Have you considered my servant Job?” (Job 1:7-8).
Without delay, the enemy obliged God’s suggestion and tortured Job but couldn’t take his life. Maybe you’ve heard of this man who lost everything—wealth, family, reputation, health, livestock. Even Job’s wife begged ‘curse God and die’. Wrestling unbearable torment, Job endured and promised himself, “Even though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15). Out of the depth of his pain, he clung to faith in God “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin, nor charge God with wrong” (Job 1:20-22 NKJV).
Accordingly, each life encounters joy as well as sorrow. Jesus’ half-brother James explains one reason for hardships: “The testing of your faith produces patience. Let patience have its’ perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:3-4). We know God will not allow us to be tested beyond our ability. For that reason, let us not be weary in well doing (1 Corinthians 10:13, Galatians 6:9).