Daily Devotion - Wednesday, February 17, 2016
I was relating to my friend all of the crazy things that had happened to me that week. It had been a pretty bad one, at least in my way of thinking. Everything that could have gone wrong, seemed to have gone wrong. It felt like there had been a line of people at my office door lodging complaints.
Plus, my car was in the shop and taking longer to fix than the mechanic had previously told me. I had upset my wife with something dumb that I said, and I had handled a situation with my kid pretty poorly and was feeling bad about what I said to him. On top of everything I was battling a cold, and felt like garbage. I ended my diatribe with saying, "I have no idea how I am supposed to preach this week feeling like this."
My friend looked at me without a lot of sympathy. "Yeah, that's pretty rough. You sound like Job, man." Then he added with a grin, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord." I almost threw my coffee at him. It took great will power to keep from doing it, to be honest.
It's true, though. Job had a pretty bad day. According to the story, he lost all of his wealth, his security and his family within a matter of moments. And all because God and the Accuser (Satan) had a bet going that Job wouldn't curse God for his terrible fortune. I'm serious. Go and read Job chapter 1 if you don't believe me.
In all honesty, I've never really liked this story all that much. Why would God bargain with the Enemy over whether one of his children would lose faith or not? Why would God allow the Enemy to inflict hardship, anguish, grief and suffering on someone just to win a bet? On the surface, God sounds like a pretty rotten sort in this story, actually.
What I've come to understand about the story of Job, however, is that it's a universal kind of story. It's the story of all of us--and the way we view God, and how our relationship with God is often transformed by the things that happen to us. It's the story of how we try to make sense of tragedies that just don't make sense, and how even though we might say we have faith in God, the true measure of our relationship with Him is discovered when bad things happen.
And in the end, the story of Job is all about how we really can't know all there is to know because only God knows all there is to know, and we have to simply be okay with that bit of knowledge and trust God, because God loves us more than we could ever imagine.
So if you are struggling today to try to make sense of all that has happened to you. If you are wondering why God would allow bad things to happen to good people. If you are trying to keep faith, and thinking deep inside that the reason why you are experiencing pain is because you've done something to deserve it... Know this:
The God who breathed life into you on the day you first drew breath will be with you on the day you draw your last, and all of the days in between. You speak the very name of God when you draw breath every moment, every day. God, I believe, does not cause all things (even though we sometimes want to believe God does), but God is in the midst of all things. God is in the midst of your brokenness, your grief, your sorrow, your pain, frustration, loss and confusion.
May you feel the presence of God today in ways that you never dreamed possible. May you find courage and strength in the middle of your struggles. May you bless the name of the Lord with joy and hope knowing that God loves you beyond all love and will surround you with his grace and mercy. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.