When my brothers and I were young, we avidly collected chunks of mica and pyrite. Because the minerals sparkled and were beautiful, we assumed that they were valuable. Pyrite is known as "fool's gold", because its metallic shimmer and gold colour resemble true gold. It was an exciting treasure hunt for children to find these minerals and show them off, but we soon found out that they weren't worth any money!
There are some wonderful lines in Shakespeare's play, The Merchant of Venice (Act 2, Scene 7), about fool's gold. They are the warning written on a picture of death inside a golden jewellery box.
- All that glisters is not gold –
Often have you heard that told.
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
In these troubling times of the pandemic, many are seriously concerned about unstable international markets, dropping oil prices, shuttered small businesses, and sudden unemployment. Our government is scrambling to find ways to halt the freefall of the economy, and give subsidies for financial relief of those experiencing hard times. It may be hard to see the hand of God in times of hardship and worry.
Job suffered a series of hardships that many of us will never experience: loss of his wealth, his children, and his health. Even when it seemed that God had forgotten him, Job was a true child of God, still longing for His presence, and confident that He was still in charge.
Job 23:9-10 – On the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. (ESV)
Job believed that God had not forgotten him, that He wasn't out to punish him, that the terrible trials had an end date, and that God would bring good out of them all. God still valued Job, for why else would he be put through fire, like gold, if he weren't so loved and precious to Him?
Jesus comforts us with these words:
Matthew 6:31-33 – Therefore do not be anxious, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (ESV)
Know that you are loved, valued, and precious to God. Let us pray and trust Him for all that we need this day and every day.
Prayer: I need Thee, precious Jesus! For I am very poor; a stranger and a pilgrim, I have no earthly store: I need the love of Jesus to cheer me on my way, to guide my doubting footsteps, to be my strength and stay. (Frederick Whitfield, 1829-1904) Thank You, O Lord, that we are so precious to You, and that You are always in charge. Keep our eyes on You. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" (Lyrics)