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Understanding Life’s Trials

To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. Job 12:13

My friend’s father received the dreaded diagnosis: cancer. Yet, during the chemo treatment process, he became a believer in Jesus and his disease eventually went into remission. He was cancer free for a wonderful eighteen months, but it returned—worse than before. He and his wife faced the reality of the returned cancer with concern and questions but also with a faithful trust in God because of how He saw them through the first time.

We won’t always understand why we’re going through trials. This was certainly the case for Job, who faced horrendous and unexplainable suffering and loss. Yet despite his many questions, in Job 12 he declares that God is mighty: “What he tears down cannot be rebuilt” (v. 14) and “to him belong strength and insight” (v. 16). “He makes nations great, and destroys them” (v. 23). Throughout this extensive list, Job doesn’t mention God’s motives or why He allows pain and suffering. Job doesn’t have the answers. But still despite everything, he confidently says, “to God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his” (v. 13).

We may not understand why God allows certain struggles in our lives, but like my friend’s parents, we can put our trust in Him. The Lord loves us and has us in His hands (v. 10; 1 Peter 5:7). Wisdom, power, and understanding are His!

What struggle are you going through? How does it help to know that God is with you?

Lord, help me to trust You, even when I don’t understand what You’re doing. Thank You that You hold me in Your loving hands.


After several chapters of unhelpful sermonizing from his friends, Job has had enough. And so he begins chapter 12 with bitter sarcasm: “Doubtless you are the only people who matter, and wisdom will die with you!” (v. 2). Later he would say of them, “You are miserable comforters, all of you! Will your long-winded speeches never end?” (16:2–3).

Finding no help from his friends, Job pivots away from them and toward his only hope: “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his” (12:13). Yet, even while acknowledging God’s power and wisdom, Job questions the Almighty. The balance of the book of Job contains more dialogue between Job and his poor comforters, a new viewpoint from a fourth friend, Elihu, who didn’t do much better than the other three (chs. 32–37), and God’s incomparable response to it all (chs. 38–41).

Tim Gustafson

By |2019-04-24T12:07:28-04:00April 29th, 2019|
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