Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Winter (11/14/05)
TITLE: Job and the Winter Period
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You know you're having a bad day when you start relating to Job. When you start sticking up for him, then you're really stuck in the barren fruitlessness of a winter phase! I have often understood his feelings when he said:
"Oh that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat!
I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which He would answer me,
And understand what He would say to me.
Would He contend with me in His great power?
No! But He would take note of me.
There the upright could reason with Him,
And I would be delivered forever from my Judge."
Job 23:3-7 NKJV
That Scripture sounds very much like me arguing with God. I desperately want to understand what He is saying, but I can't find the meaning. M. Scott Peck summed it all up for me when he said, "life is difficult." Christianity can be like marriage, it is for better or for worse, and at times, the worse is a rugged test of our faith. Making sense of life at these times can seem all but completely impossible.
It has never sounded to me like Job deserved what he got. The death of one member of the family rocks our world for months. The death of all of his children, financial ruin, sickness and disaster from all sides, seems to be overdoing it somewhat. Why did God go that far? Job wasn’t just caught in a chilly winter period; his life had fallen down around him in an avalanche of disaster. It seems God allowed his situation to become extreme to prove a point. That is to Satan of all people; and I won't even start to speculate on the views of those who actually died in the process. Yet, somehow Job still managed to say:
"Naked I came from my mothers' womb and naked I shall return,
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD."
Job 1:21 NKJV
I would love to be able to admit that I have never charged God with wrong, never put Him on trial. I can’t claim I have never told Him that He didn't care enough, accused Him of using me as a pawn in a game out of my control, or told Him that He had made a mistake. Many times, I have. I have screamed at God, and in those times, I have received the clearest answers. Sometimes God is silent, He steps back and lets me work it all out in the light of what He has taught me before. The test is whether I act in faith in the end, or remain an accuser. Am I able to say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job 13:15 NKJV) It seems to me that the stronger the pain, the greater the Grace God makes available. When I go over the edge, I always feel guilty that Jesus had to die to cover my ignorant tantrum, but isn't that love? He has the understanding of acute pain, and how blinding it can be.
I am often not justified in what I say to God. I have often told Him that I would understand and it is His perfect right to strike a bolt of lightning through me for being so bold. However, if the "earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available - dynamic in it's working," (James 5:16 Amplified) then perhaps my roar is a prayer for help, and a prayer of faith? To blame God takes a belief in God, and to view Him as being the one withholding the blessing or the answer, takes a firm belief that He is truly a sovereign God that is in the driver's seat, controlling your life. Now that is a faith that pleases God, and saves outspoken children like me.
Somehow, the faithfulness of God always comes through, and the greater the problem, the greater is God's comfort. I have often received immediate answers that put me firmly back in my place. Through these answers, I have learnt lessons of how much God cares. Despite what I think of Him at the time, He is working hard in my best interests. For that reason, I will trust Him.
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