Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘Job’

When Gloom and Doom Loom

Two books of “gloom and doom” are found in the Old Testament:  Job and Lamentations.  The main body of both of these is a series of laments over tragedy.  For Job, it was personal tragedy—rather, a whole series of them.  For Jeremiah, who wrote Lamentations, it was national tragedy as he toured the ruins of what had been his beloved Jerusalem.

But in the middle of each book shines an outstanding expression of hope. 

Job, after expressing a lot of complaint and despair, bursts out with a statement of faith that on which Handel based a beautiful air in his Messiah:

But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
And after my body has decayed,
yet in my body I will see God!
I will see him for myself.
Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.
I am overwhelmed at the thought!  (Job 19:25-17 NLT)

And Jeremiah—right smack dab in the middle of his anguish, he exclaims:

The faithful love of the LORD never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”  (Lamentations 3:22-24)

When gloom and doom loom on my horizon,  Lord, let me see that silver lining and hope in You!

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Divine Irony

Job is a drama in at least three acts.  An irony where poor Job, as well as his friends, are totally oblivious of the real drama behind the scenes.

First (after Job is introduced), Satan shows up in God’s throne room and makes a bet with God that he can make Job sin.  God consents, confident that his model child, will not fail.  (I wonder, would God bet on me?) 

Then the curtains close on the heavenly stage and our attention is redirected to the earthly stage where Job is hit with one tragedy after another.  He endures days and nights of grief and suffering along with wave after wave of harangue from his so-called “friends.”  Everyone is sure that they are right, and here’s why:

1.  Job’s perspective:  a)  He knows he hasn’t sinned.  b)  Good people are not supposed to suffer.  c)  God is in control of all that happens.

Job’s conclusion:  God is being unjust, so Job desperately seeks an audience with Him.

2.  Job’s friends’ perspective:  a) Job is suffering.  b) Suffering is always the punishment for sin, just as prosperity is always the reward for righteousness.  c)  God is just.

Their conclusion:  Job has sinned and needs to repent.

3.  God’s perspective:  a)  Job is the model of righteousness.  b) God is both just and wise, but not limited to human standards.  c) His purpose is beyond the knowledge of  the humans.  Then in chapters 38-41, God blows them all away from a whirlwind with a tour of His magnificent power in creation.  No answers for the questions they asked–just He Himself!!! 

In the third main part of this drama, Job gets the prize!  He has endured and won.  He receives restored health, double his original wealth, and another whole family, including 3 gorgeous daughters. 

But most of all, God is vindicated. 

How can this story help me when I look at what’s happening to me, those I care about, my nation, and the world around me?  In Job’s darkness, his expression of hope shines all the brighter:

But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.  (23:10)   Rainbow

A Reason for Suffering

Having visited with lots of people in several different locales over the past few days, we have heard many stories of God’s work but also of many struggles that go on and on.  I thought of Job, whose experiences I’d read recently.  He hadn’t the faintest idea why he was being tested.  If only he could have known that God was using him to showcase His own glory!

Then in the book of John I found two similar statements:

A man was born blind “so the power of God could be seen in him.”  9:3

Lazarus’ sickness “happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  11:4

And the greatest event of all—Jesus’ death, though plotted by demons and opponents, was actually planned by God for His own glory—and our salvation. 

When I have a big or small problem, I hope I will remember to consider first how God’s glory and power may be displayed through the situation and my response. 

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