Six months ago today, a friend’s beautiful young daughter and husband lost their precious newborn son, a micro-preemie baby who captured the attention of so many in his brief appearance on earth. He was “Baby Sawyer.” The tiny little soldier fought so hard for 30 days, when his energy finally ran out and he said goodbye to his family, friends, and countless strangers who had fallen in prayerful love with him.
I wonder how many of us would be praising God through such a journey. Sawyer’s mom and dad did, from the day he was born at just under 6 months to the day he said goodbye, one month later, to the present day. Hannah and Chris’s faithful updates were laced with praise to God throughout the unimaginably long days of turbulent uncertainty. Amidst the darkest of doctors’ reports, the Light of their faith and praise shined through as they continually gave thanks and honor to God for every moment of their child’s precious life. Hannah and Chris REFUSED TO MOVE from the Platform of Praise.
Why? Why in some of the darkest hours of their lives would they choose to praise God?… Why are they still standing tall on the Platform of Praise? Would anyone blame them for stepping down? After all, don’t we usually reserve our praises for what we see as “good things” that happen in our lives? Why praise God in a raging storm?
Perhaps the answer to this question can be found in the story of a man from an ancient land called Uz. His name is Job.
From Job 1:20-21–
“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’”
For those who don’t know, the “At this” setting these verses in motion refers to the final of the first set of Satan’s blows to Job’s life. Job was a man rich in both faith and possessions. He was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. His possessions were unmatched, and he was renowned in his time as the greatest man in the East. — Job had now been given the news that his 500 oxen and 500 donkeys were all plundered. Arguably just minutes later, he was told that a fire had burned up many of his servants and all 7,000 sheep. He then received word that his 3,000 camels and many more of his servants had been plundered. Finally, he heard the “At this” news- his 7 sons and 3 daughters had all been killed.
Job’s response? –He got up, tore his robe, shaved his head, fell to the ground in worship, and stepped up to the Platform of Praise. He acknowledged the Sovereign God and said- I will praise Him in the raging storm!
Though the Bible tells us little of Job’s life before Satan got his hands on Him, I imagine that Job had developed a HABIT of PRAISE to God for everything in his life. Being known as the greatest man in the East, he easily could have stepped up to his own platform and taken credit for all that he had, which was more than any man. How tempting it would be to say, “Yes! Glorify me! This is all by my hands!” Instead, Job gave all credit and praise to God- acknowledging that everything he had came from God’s hand. Job knew God. He knew WHO He was, and that He was worthy of ALL PRAISE in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Though Job’s circumstances had changed drastically for the worse, he knew that HIS GOD HAD NOT CHANGED- The same God who blessed him with unimaginable prosperity was now allowing him to face unimaginable loss- that he knew not the reason was inconsequential. This knowledge of his Always-Praiseworthy God would be critical to Job when Satan’s final set of blows came, which took everything but Job’s life.
The following picture is graphic, but may help you envision Job’s condition as Satan pulled out all the stops to force him to curse God. Even Job’s wife urged him to do it and die.
From Job 2:7-10–
“So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
Hear the Wisdom and inherent Praise in Job’s final words to his wife- “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Even after having lost everything, and sitting in ashes scraping oozing sores from his body- Job REFUSED TO LEAVE THE PLATFORM OF PRAISE. His trust in God’s GOOD character did not waver with his deteriorating circumstances. Not surprisingly, this trust led him to foreshadow the Hope of God’s One and Only Son, Jesus Christ- here are his words:
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)
In his dreadful state, Job continued to praise God. And Job’s agony was not over with his wife’s rejection- his friends then failingly attempted to console him, one after the other. They even wrongly attacked his upright character, pouring salt into his painful sores. Yet Job’s trust in God remained steadfast- he replied:
“Though He [God] slay me, yet will I hope in Him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.” (Job 13:15)
Unlike his friends, Job had a relationship with the Living God.* Job KNEW he could trust God. Therefore, when the worst happened- he was able to stand immovably tall on the Platform of Praise, and speak to his God- Yes, even question his God. And when God spoke, Job acknowledged his Lord’s Supremacy and Righteousness- he acknowledged how little HE understood in comparison, saying:
“My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)
(Note God’s Words in Isaiah 55:9–
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your
Job’s journey is a difficult one to read- I urge you to read and study it! I believe it is a story of PRAISE above all else. Job is a man well-known for his patience and long-suffering, but that would not have existed had he stepped off the Platform of Praise in any of the increasing opportunities he had to do so. And God rewarded Job for praising and trusting Him through the storm. Because Job refused to move from the Platform in the most tempting of circumstances, the Devil’s plan was defeated. The Bible tells us God blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first, giving him twice as much as he had before- 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen and 1,000 donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters, and saw his children and their children to the fourth-generation. Job left the earth an old man full of years.
Though there are so many things to be learned from the story of Job, I believe the most important observation of his life is this- Arguably some 2,000 years before Jesus Christ came to earth, the man of Uz saw Him. Job knew God would redeem him and be his Saving Grace. He knew he could place all of his trust and hope in Him. He knew He was a Just and Holy God, but perhaps most importantly, Job knew God was a relational* God to Whom he could bring all of his frustration, distress and questions without fear- God wanted a relationship with him and had already established it. —
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” – Galatians 4:4-5
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” – 2 Tim 1:9-10
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” – 2 Cor 5:17-19
*”Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Heb 4:14-16
Yes, Job approached the Throne of Grace with confidence, where he received mercy and grace to help him in his time of need! Privileged are We– The Church– to have seen the manifestation of the Saving, Reconciling Work of God through the suffering, death and resurrection of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Privileged are We to physically have God’s Word of Truth, which spells out all that Job foreshadowed through his own storm of devastation and loss. If this ancient man from the land of Uz could refuse to leave the Platform of Praise in his darkest hour, then surely can We!
Let us remember our Brother Job when the storms of life come our way, and the very same unstoppable praise demonstrated by Baby Sawyer’s parents, which comes from having a relationship with the One True God through His Son, Jesus Christ.** Let us remember the Perfect, Unchanging Character of our Trustworthy Heavenly Father when our circumstances move from better to worse, or we don’t understand the trials that have come our way. Let us REFUSE TO MOVE FROM THE PLATFORM OF PRAISE in our darkest hour- for God’s Sovereignty and Infinite Love for us has NOT changed. He sacrificed EVERYTHING for us to be with us forever! The perfect Eternal Joy of His Kingdom awaits us! We who have seen God in Christ, accepted His blood sacrifice as payment for our sins, and walk in His Spirit,..we will all be together again One Day on the Grand Platform of Praise in Heaven! Job KNEW the BEST was yet to come! Hannah and Chris KNEW they would cradle Baby Sawyer in their arms again one Blessed Day– this time in radiant health and joy, and for all eternity! We- the Body of Christ- KNOW THAT GOD IS TRUSTWORTHY and HE ALONE IS WORTHY OF ALL PRAISE- AT ALL TIMES!!!
God bless you, dear friends!
**Click on “The Question That Changed My Life Forever” for my personal testimony and more info on having a relationship with the Living God!
Be encouraged by these Verses-
“My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
‘Where is your God?’
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.” – Psa 42:10-11
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” – Psa 145:3
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.” – Habakkuk 3:17-18
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Rom 5:1-5
“Now if we are [God’s] children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Rom 8:17-18
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Rom 8:28
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Cor 4:16-18
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” – Phil 4:4
“‘Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.’
So we say with confidence,
‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?’” – Heb 13:5b-6
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Heb 13:8
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – Jam 1:2-4
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” – Jam 1:12
“For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
‘He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.’
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” – 1 Pet 2:19-25
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” – 1 Pet 4:12-16
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” – 1 John 1:5
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