On the afternoon of August 2, 1997, James Aliff, a thirty-nine year-old unemployed construction worker, woke up and found himself in a tough spot. He was lying face down between the rails of a railroad bed. According to the Chicago Tribune news service, “Police believe Aliff might have been drinking and passed out on the track. Aliff said he slipped on a rock while walking his dog and was knocked out.” Whatever the cause, when James woke up, he quickly realized he was not alone. Passing over him was a 109-car freight train.
Later on from his Oak Hill, Florida hospital bed, he said, “I got a headache, let me tell you. About every three or four seconds an axle from a train car would come along and crack me upside the head. It’s a good thing I wasn’t on my back, or that train would have torn off my face.” You could say, in a way, that James was in a grinder, being pounded relentlessly.
Life can also get that way sometimes. Most of the time, it is filled with peace and blessings, but painful, grinding times do come. You may feel pounded by your problems, like you are alone in the dark, going through a grinder.
There are times in our lives when it seems everything is going wrong, and we just don’t know what to do. Job said in Chapter 23:8-12, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
I believe we can learn from three simple things Job did when everything was going wrong…
1. Remember the Omnipresence of God
Even though Job did not know where God was, God knew where Job was. There may be times when it seems God is nowhere around. Job 23:3 says, “Oh that I knew where I might find him!” Job was even in pursuit of God and couldn’t find him. What we must remember when everything is Going wrong, though, is that God is always there, even when we don’t “feel” or “see” Him.
2. Realize the Outcome of Trials
“When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job declares this is 23:10 while he is still in the middle of his storm. Job had made up his mind that while he was in the storm, the storm didn’t have to be in him. We can either become bitter or better Christians through the storm, and Job purposed in his heart to become better at the outcome of his trial.
3. Remain Obedient to God's Word
In verses 11 and 12, Job makes reference to being obedient to the words of God. Many will run from the Bible during the storm when they should be running to the Bible. The Word of God will give you help and encouragement when nothing else will, and remaining obedient to God’s word keeps us in the middle of God’s will, even in the storm.