It was during my childhood that television made its debut in American living rooms. The first programs that burst forth on "Kiddie Saturdays" were Westerns. Every kid who was lucky enough to have one, was glued to the set every Saturday morning to see the latest adventures. We had all sorts of cowboy heroes, and every one of them triumphed over the bad guys within 30 minutes.

There was Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and his wife, Dale Evans. We even knew the names of their horses, Trigger and Buttermilk. Then there was The Lone Ranger and his Indian sidekick, Tonto and their horses, Silver and Scout. The Hispanics were represented by The Cisco Kid and Pancho (and their horses, Diablo and Loco), and we also had the great bullwhip artist, Lash LaRue.

We even had a hero who didn't sing, have a talented horse, or a quick draw. He was "Sky King, the Flying Cowboy." He patrolled the Flying Crown Ranch via his airplane (hence no need for a horse), and would vanquish all the would-be cattle rustlers, round up the strays, and keep the herd intact. After all, he had a great vantage point!

Even the ladies were represented. Annie Oakley was the heroine of all little girls, with her fancy ridin', ropin', and shootin'. (She had a handsome boyfriend, the deputy, who did the fightin' for her. Her uncle was the sheriff and was always out of town, so the deputy was in charge most of the time. He could take the bad guys right to jail after the fistfight, which made it really convenient!)

Regardless of sex, race, culture, or specialties, all programs had one thing in common... just as the action scene reached its peak and it looked like the guys with the black hats (the bad guys) were winning, those same white letters scrawled across the black screen: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..." A collective moan could be heard from Maine to Texas.

It meant that the exciting stuff had to be put on hold and we had to endure the boring stuff... ARGH! (Don'tcha just hate that when that happens?)

You know, this is how it goes in real life, too, and even in our spiritual lives as well! It is a time when our growth and activity seems to be "put on hold!" It is like we have left one room and are not yet ready to enter the next... so we have to take a seat in the hall and wait... and wait... and WAIT. Everyone else seems to be in all the action scenes. We watch people come and go, and we're stuck in the bunkhouse! ARGH! (Don'tcha just hate that when that happens?) After a time, we are tempted to feel discouraged... we feel forgotten, useless and even punished... like the Father is angry with us.

If we share our distress with a fellow Christian, they usually say, "Oh, you are just going through a wilderness experience." However, being told that we have been placed on the back side of the desert isn't very comforting! Which reminds me, in a sense, of the story of Job and his "miserable comforters." (You KNEW that I would eventually get to the message, didn't you?)

Of course, very few of us, if any, have ever come close to suffering what poor Job had to go through. If you take the time to read that lengthy account of misery, the Book of Job, you can track his descent into the pit of discouragement. For the faint of heart, or the pressed for time, I will give you a maybe not so quick recap:

(The story of Job)

Job started out as a very righteous and blessed man. He had a wife and 10 adult children... they weren't so righteous. Job was a very wealthy man AND was in pretty tight with God Himself. You might call his the epitome of the 'silver spoon' life. In Chapter 1, the first 5 verses give us the complete prologue to Job's story.

From verse 6 through chapter 41, it is all downhill! Even before the first chapter ends, Job loses his wealth and all his children die. In the second chapter, we find Job's body is under attack... he is sitting on an ash heap scraping pus from oozing boils, with a piece of pottery. This is so sad that his wife tells him to just go ahead and curse God, so he can die! (Guess God killed people for cursing Him, in those days before Grace!)

In chapter 2, Job's three best friends show up. Job looks so pitiful that all they can do is weep aloud, tear their robes, throw dust on their heads, and sit down beside him. No one can even SPEAK for seven days and seven nights, Job's suffering is so great.

In chapter 3, Job utters his first words. He laments many things... but never curses or blames God for his troubles.

From chapter 4 through chapter 37, the conversations between Job and his "miserable comforters" (as he calls them), are recorded. His friends initially came to comfort him, but in their frustration to come up with an answer as to WHY all this chaos has come upon Job, they seem to end up blaming HIM for all his troubles! (Don'tcha just HATE that when that happens?)

Finally, in chapter 38, the LORD speaks... and even HE seems to be rebuking Job! Actually, God is just delivering some good ol' home truths to Job. God truly loves this man... the Lord called him "blameless and upright in heart" in chapter 1, verse 1. God had always been proud of Job, and it was because of His respect and confidence in Job, that He allowed Satan to bring all this calamity upon him.

Hello... this has been a TEST?

Yet, God seems to be after ONE flaw in Job's character. In all his righteousness, Job really doesn't KNOW God. This dawns on Job in chapter 42, verse 5. He says, "My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have SEEN You." Job repents in verse 6. In verses 7-11, we see God rebuking Job's friends, and Job PRAYS for them (whadda guy)! I think I would have been tempted to say "Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah" instead!

In the last 5 verses of chapter 42 (the epilogue), we see all the blessings restored to Job. He lives another 140 years and sees his descendants up to the fourth generation. (Yes, he fathered 10 more kids... wonder if he got a new wife?!)

Yet, after all this, God never did tell Job WHY!! He never told Job that He had bragged on him to Satan... at least that is what it seems to the reader. Actually, that is only the surface. When we view the depth of the context, we realize what Job himself had concluded in chapter 42, verse 5... Job THOUGHT he knew God.

It is the Father's deepest desire that His kids KNOW Him! This was not a  poker game in the Big Sky Saloon between God and Satan, with Job as the joker. God cannot be goaded into lifting His protection and allowing the devil to "have at" us, because God has "placed His money down!"

What it boiled down to was that God USED Satan... not the other way around... and all for Job's benefit! It was to bring a righteous man even CLOSER to his God.

Yay! Once again the good guys win... God and His sidekick, Job... and once again the bad guy loses the fight, and is dragged off to Boot Hill.

When is the devil ever gonna learn that he can't out-draw, out-ride, out-rope or out-fight God? HE is the one in the WHITE HAT!


"Hi-ho Silver, away"! "Get-em up, Scout"!

"Good-bye, amigos, see ya soon" "Ah-ha-ha-ha"!!!

Stay tuned next time, buckaroos, for "Chaos"... an exciting adventure where Christian finds himself...... (Meanwhile, back at the ranch....) "AARRGGHH!"

Rev. C. L. Moser--11/20/02      (I sure had fun doing this one, Kids!)

("Ah, fetch me another glass of water, son")


You can find all sorts of information about our old cowboy heroes at