Stronger Than the Struggle

Job seasons. Let’s be perfectly honest, we don’t want anything to do with them. There’s no tip-toeing around it. Plain and simple, we hate them! We all have Job seasons. Some Job seasons are minor, others register high on the Richter scale. But when you boil it all down, a Job season is a Job season!

In her book, The Divine Invitation: Entering the Dance of Becoming Fully Alive, Terri Sullivant discusses in one of the chapters her Job season. For those of you unfamiliar with Terri’s book, she wrote it out of an amazing encounter she had with the Lord that forever marked her life and deepened her relationship with Him. It is Terri’s autobiographical journey. The good, the bad—and the JOB!

Terri’s Job season occurred in 2004 when she was stricken with trigeminal neuralgia (a.k.a. the suicide disease). This illness led to two full years of intense physical suffering and inability to sleep, as well as not being able to care for her family and home. Terri essentially was incapacitated, imprisoned on the couch. In this deepest of Job seasons, Terri and the Lord came together in a most profound, life-altering way.

We all have our Job stories to tell. In my life, over a short period of time, my hope of ever becoming a mother died after suffering the loss of two babies, my mother (and best friend) was slowly slipping away due to Alzheimer’s, my career/business came to a halt, a bonded relationship suddenly and dramatically ended, and other major family health and relationship crises arose.

Terri talks in her book about evaluating yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 (“1” being almost dead, and “10” being fully alive), and asking yourself where you are. For me, in that season, I could honestly answer I was a “1!” I was dying on the inside. But like Terri, I had an encounter with the Lord that reshaped my life forever.

If we don’t struggle, we won’t grow. Friction polishes a gem and trials perfect our souls. God is our master builder, working behind the scenes to develop the character and likeness of Jesus in us, even when it feels like He is a tornado seeking to destroy everything in its path. There is pain in the process. But God is always there. He is right in the middle of it all. He doesn’t promise us comfort, but He promises us safety: He is our safe harbor. He never causes bad things to happen but He works things out for our good and His purposes (Romans 8:28).

I encourage each of you to honestly evaluate where you are right now. Are you almost dead or fully alive?

Coming to terms with your Job season takes effort. We can’t just recognize that these seasons exist, put a band-aid on them, say a prayer, and skip down the road. We would never put a band-aid on cancer and call it cured. It takes strategy. Sometimes a very painful, very time-consuming effort. But restoration waits on the other side.

Job seasons feel as if every force of hell is taking its best shot. It’s intense and powerful, but I know you are stronger than the struggle. You are stronger than your struggle! You will rise above your Job season! Maybe a little beat up, but you’ll be stronger for the wear. I leave you with this quote from Banning Liebscher of Jesus Culture:

The Enemy is trying to get you off assignment. He wants to distract you with something that God is not emphasizing in your life so that you will miss what God wants to teach you in that moment. Make no mistake: God is trying to grow you exactly where you are.

I declare that your Job season will turn around when you Find God exactly where you are!