Saturday, May 31, 2014

Job 1-4

We begin the book of Job today (chapters 1-4).  It is believed to be one of the oldest books of the Bible.  It's the story of a very faithful and blameless farmer.  He has it all, and Satan tests his faith with God's permission by taking away all he has, including his health.  Things get so bad for Job, he's in such agony, that he wishes he could die.  

This story is always one that's hard for me to read.  Innocent people suffer so often in our world, and that's what's happening today.  Job is a good guy, an honest farmer, a loyal husband, a devoted father, and a compassionate friend.  He's in the middle of this really hard season in his life, and he just can't seem to catch a break.  When it rains it pours.

Our compassionate, forgiving and gracious God, mighty and awesome, our God abounding in love for us allows the suffering.

Our brains can't help but ask "Why?"  

At the same time, it's significant to notice that God is not the source of Job's suffering.

Job hasn't done anything wrong; and yet even his friends begin to associate his suffering with guilt.

Yet, the story tells us again and again that Job is blameless.

And so what does all of this mean for our own relationships with God?

I think, surprisingly, it points to God's grace.  In fact, I am surprised as I write.

For Job, even his painful circumstances are an opportunity to acknowledge God's sovereignty in his life and praise Him.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;

    may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job has serious, life-saving faith even though he feels like dying.

Job gets what he doesn't deserve, and that is two-fold.  

Job experiences suffering that he doesn't earn, and he has God's love and adoration, which we know he also cannot earn with enough good works.

That's how this life is for us too.  We often get what we don't deserve.  And when we do, we can't help but remember Jesus and all He went through for us.

Our suffering is just another part of our lives that points straight to our desperate, deep need for God's grace.

It's by grace, through faith, we are saved (Ephesians 2:8).

Our compassionate, forgiving and gracious God, mighty and awesome, our God abounding in love for us allows suffering.  That's a truth that is near impossible for us to fully understand right now.  

But this is also the same God who is everlasting and slow to anger.  He sees a much bigger, eternal picture for us, and He alone knows just how to get us there, to the place He has prepared for us.

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You You that by grace, through my faith in Jesus, I am saved.

I look around at all those who are suffering right now, and I pray for them.  I pray for those who are hurting and sick and for those who are spiritually lost and broken.  I pray for their families and friends.  

I see this suffering and pain, and I know how much we all need Jesus in our lives.  Pour out Your Holy Spirit and strengthen us.

Blessed be Your name, Lord, who saves us and heals us, both here and for eternity.

I praise You.

In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit I pray,

Peace of Christ,

*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.

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