“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.” ~ Job 13:15-16
The vines that sometimes grow up the side of oak trees cling to them during the fiercest storms. Although the wind beats upon them, the tendrils hold tightly to the tree’s bark. If the vine is on the side opposite the wind, the great oak is its protection; if it’s on the exposed side, the wind presses the vine more closely to it.
As Christians, we are sometimes sheltered by God, while other times He allows us to be exposed so we will be pressed more closely to Him. After years of faithfulness, some Christians suddenly find themselves greatly tested and in deep distress—seemingly without reason. They are subjected to terrific battles with doubts, fears, and unbelief. Doesn’t God care how much they suffer? Of course He does. But He has a special purpose in withholding immediate relief.
When God spoke to Satan about Job, He described him as “blameless and upright,” one who “holds fast to his integrity” (Job 1:8; 2:3). God knew He could trust Job to cling to Him no matter what. Job’s persevering faith in the midst of overwhelming trials would refute Satan’s argument that he served God only because God blessed him.
The Lord may have a similar purpose in your trial. Remember Job’s example. Hold fast to God.
Though trials come, though fears assail,
Through tests scarce understood,
One truth shines clear—it cannot fail—
My God is right and good. (Hager)
Our afflictions are designed not to break us but to bend us toward God.