For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men while they slumber on their beds, then he opens the ears of men, and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn man aside from his deed, and cut off pride from man; he keeps back his soul from the Pit, his life from perishing by the sword. Job 33:15-18
Only God is able to humble us without humiliating us, and to exalt us without flattering us.
God made me really sad and upset this weekend. I am even offended. This entire walk with God has been quite the journey. There are highs and lows, good and bad times, moments of joy and moments of deep sorrow. To say the least, I have learned that God’s character is the only stable thing in this life. Even though we may be righteous, set apart for God, serving faithfully or sacrificially, God is still holy. And we are still sinners, who will always need more purification, more sanctification, more love and more consecration. In the bible, the book of Job is one of those books that we can identify with as believers because he was “a perfect man”. If he was so perfect, then why did God allow the devil to touch him? If Job was such a good man before the eyes of God, then why did he lose his kids, his income, his reputation and his health?
In the bible, Job’s friends went as far as saying that Job had secret sin and that’s why he was suffering. Job too, went overboard and said some pretty disrespectful things to God himself: He even surrendered the idea that God loved him saying “God was his enemy”. I don’t blame Job, I’ve felt this way too and have told God some defiant things myself. In actuality, life and its trials in God’s hands are to humble us, to refine us and to see God in a new way. It’s true that the wicked seem to have better lives than us, the ones who were made ‘righteous’ by Christ. It is not easy to understand God’s ways, because it involves pain: and we associate pain with negativity. But God’s pain is also a seed, which will eventually bear its fruit. For example remember Joseph, he was envied by his own brothers, and left to die in a ditch in the dirt. But then his brothers changed their minds, and sold him to Egypt, where he was then unfairly imprisoned. All this pain, was only a seed waiting to bear it’s fruit. Joseph became Egypt’s high ranking financial adviser, and the supplier of the neighboring nations (including his family’s nation, Israel) during decades of drought and famine.
Sometimes it is hard to grasp the need for suffering, but after some deep meditation I have accepted that we need to be more holy and more righteous. The Lord molds us to perfection, and perfection is to become more like Jesus Himself. Jesus Christ, lived as a human, a poor human, not even rich in status or name. He died as the worst human: crucified as a sinner. His reputation was attacked, His body beaten until disfigured, but today, He is seated in glory with God the father again. Suffering is not the proof of wickedness.
Personally, I believe that Job was borderline arrogant. Job is like many of us, He knows what he has done right: he has been faithful and reverential of God, he pursued and served Him, but he may have forgotten that God tests the hearts of men as righteous as they may be. Even though Job was righteous, “a perfect man”, he was not a sinless man. He was certain of his position in God, and he may have been too trusting of his works and sacrifice that God needed to remind him, He was still the God of grace; the God who is in control, the giver and taker of life.
I write this, even as I minister to myself. God played me, and it hurt me. But as God knows even the deepest intentions of our hearts, I am positive that He is on my side. I am still mad at God for playing me, but I believe that if He found it timely to rebuke me for something I thought was dealt with, it is obviously not a resolved issue. So I will let God be God.
God, with a broken heart I ask you for instruction and grace to go on. Even though, I face battles which are secret to outsiders, you know my heart and you know the way I take. I ask you for more grace, for all of us who face challenges in this walk. May your grace equip us to face the future and endurance to see the purpose, like Joseph did. I know your word says that ‘all things work for good’ and you also say that ‘what the enemy means for harm, you turn it around for good’; I believe you at your word. I believe you love us enough to accept us as we are, but too much to keep us where we are. I pray for grace to quicken in us a renewed spirit. In Jesus name, Amen.