Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What Keeps You Kicking?

I was reading the book of Job a few days back and as always, I found myself being drawn into the story that I was reading.

The book of job does that to it's readers. It draws us in with it's unparalleled honesty and realism. Job was real with everyone who knew him and as we read his story, he in turn is real with us. It is the realism of the exposed human heart that grips us and forces us to take in all that this man goes through as painful as it is to read.

I admire Job because he is so much of what I feel I could never be. This man went through so much and was able to display his feelings and emotions, through every phase of his suffering, with such a rawness and openness that blows me away. He lost everything that he held dear and yet still clung tightly to an understanding that would keep him standing.

The true bedrock of Job's understanding throughout his trial was revealed after he was handed a crippling question. Life has a way of doing that to us doesn't it? Handing us the crippling questions that draw  answers from within us we did not know that we possessed.

In chapter one of Job's story we see everything he held dear allowed to be taken from Him and in chapter two, his health is removed and Job lies naked and destitute. His one source of earthly strength, his wife, comes to him and asks him a question that I believe anyone of us would ask Job. We pretend that we have all of the "spiritual" advice permanently locked in our minds however we are not in Job's place. It is easy to say what we would or would not do in a given circumstance when we stand outside of the fire but I believe we would at least think this question if not ask.

"Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die." ~ Job 2:9 

You have to listen to the question but what she is asking and stating says what we think in our "Job moments".

"If God really loves me, then why did He allow ___________?"  (Fill in the blank)

"If this is the best that God can treat you after all you have done for Him Job, then just give up and die." Before we are too harsh to judge Mrs. Job's advice to him, remember that these were her children that were taken and it was her financial security that crumbled along with her husbands health. Look at something Job says to his friends when they get on his case for speaking out of his pain.

"Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?" ~Job 6:26

WOW! "Are you going to condemn me because I impulsively cried out of my desperation"?

Job's wife spoke out of her pain and hurt and we would do well to remember that people speak out of where they are. When God moves you to intercede in someones life, don't take their painful responses to you personally because they are revealing to you just how much they need you. God knows what He is doing.

Job goes on to speak with his friends who all basically say the same thing. "This is happening because of something that you have done."

Through all of the emotional struggles that follow each conversation Job had, I kept going back to that question and statement that his wife made.

"Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die." ~ Job 2:9
"If this is the best that God can treat you after all you have done for Him Job, then just give up and die."

Job goes on to curse his birth, question his life, and even think about his death but he never tries to end things.

My question is why? What kept him kicking? What did he know that allowed him to look his circumstances in the eye and keep breathing? Did Job know something that could help us in our "Job Moments" and if so, what did he know?

The answer blew me away!!! I have read this story so many times and yet somehow I missed it.

Look what I found!!!

"Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost."
                                                                                                                 ~ Job 13:18-19

Did you see that?

"This is my case, I KNOW that I am righteous. Who can argue with me over this? If you could prove me wrong, I would stop defending myself and die."

Job did not give up because Job never faltered in his understanding about where he stood with God.
There is a law of sowing and reaping. There are painful consequences to wrong actions, but there are also GOD ALLOWED circumstances that shake our world to it's foundation. There is a difference between the two.

Job had done nothing wrong and he knew it. He also knew that God loved him in spite of the circumstantial evidence that seemed to say otherwise.

I am not sure who this post is for but if you are having a "Job moment" in your life please let me speak into your spirit for just a moment.

Your relationship with God is NOT determined by your FEELINGS, rather it is settled on FACT.

You and I can say the same thing that Job said when it comes to the God allowed circumstances in our lives. Read this passage and read it slowly. Take in every word as you read.

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." ~ Romans 5:1-5

If you are His child, you are at peace with Him. Why does God allow things that devastate our comfort zone and our plans? We may never know and certainly not at the time we go through it, but He is aware and His allowed circumstances are not His punishment. He made peace with you on the cross and you signed that peace treaty when you accepted Him, by faith, as your savior.

What kept Job kicking is what keeps us kicking. A firm understanding that His ways are higher than our ways and that His thought are higher than our thoughts. It is an understanding that it is His purpose, not His fairness that dictates the circumstances in our life.

He has always been about purpose.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." ~ Ephesians 2:1-10

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" ~ Phillipians 1:6

Not every bad event in your life is chastening or satan, sometimes the "Job moments" are simply God's sovereign purpose at work. It is going to be okay, and He is not mad at you. He loves you and is at perfect peace with you.

Climbing with you,
~ Dan

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