Archive for the ‘Job’ Category

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“MONDAY MORNING GROAN” Jan. 7

January 7, 2019

“And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground,for out of it you were taken; for you are dust,and to dust you shall return.”  Genesis 3:17-19

man holding hoe

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

I do not till the soil nor do I cultivate seeds. I am not a farmer.
I am not a rancher. I do not graze livestock nor do I breed cattle.
My wages do not come from agriculture.

My wages are derived from services rendered in an office. I manage and design through contracted fees for purposes greater than my participation. While I don’t wield a pitchfork, my work is still exhausting. While I don’t lift produce, my efforts exceed my energy. I return from my daily labor exhausted but rarely is that exhaustion physical. My labor is of the mind and so is my fatigue.

Yet, I am under the same plague as those in agriculture. I work under the same curse of their labors. It is a curse long ago placed. There are no eyes remaining that saw its origin. It is a curse of such history that to imagine a world without it is akin to fantasy.

I know that this coming week of work will be filled with problems; political consequences upon our capacity, strategies for emerging trends, termination of a troublesome employee, delivery of a poor performance review of another, addressing of unseemly salutations of a third, and an assortment of challenges as yet unknown.
It will wear me out by the end of each day, but I will have lifted nothing. I will have pushed and persuaded but never engaged a muscle. I will have pulled an organization while never registering a watt.

These are the days that do not endear me to my job.

design desk display eyewear

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

I observe social media feeds of individuals apparently free from my travails. Traveling the world without a care toward employment; engrossed in the pursuit of their passion. I know workers who have completed their term and are enjoying the fruit of a pension. They are free from the duty due a paycheck and the obligations of a position.

Yet, I know that it is all an illusion. We are all caught between a blessing and a curse. We have lived in this middle ground for so long that we no longer even recognize it.

My exhaustion does not come from my work. I was made to work. From the beginning of creation, mankind was created to work. Adam was placed in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Adam was made to work. I have the same form as Adam. I was made to work.

My work is a blessing. Work was given to us by God as our purpose. Work was to be pleasant, delightful, and fulfilling. Yet, it often isn’t but that is not the fault of work.

The fault lies in the unacknowledged curse. We live in a fallen world. The earth was cursed in response to Adam’s sin. Our work was intended to cultivate and keep the blessings of the Lord. Sin resulted in a twisting of that purpose into hardship. Work became labor and toil.

We were to live in harmony with creation as stewards of blessings. Sin exchanged harmony with difficultly. Nothing is easy under the curse. Work became a source of exhaustion. We were to be joyful stewards of bounty. Now, we are slaves to the dust we were formed from.

This is why I groan every Monday. This is why it is so hard to crawl out of bed on a workday. This is why the whole of creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth (Romans 8:22). We are laboring under the curse; Slaves to Murphy’s Law.
This is why I know that those who have achieved the blessed age of retirement are not freed from exhaustion. It is why I know the liberty of the jobless world traveler is an illusion.

We walk in blindness and insensibility when we don’t accurately attribute the source of our Monday morning groaning. The fallacy is the attribution of sadness and discontent to our employment. Problems will find us wherever we flee.

This is why I don’t place my hope in this world. The problems that await me within my week of work are simply inherent to this fallen world. I recognize the dreadful results of disharmony with our Creator.

This is why I collect the tokens of God’s goodness, which He has generously sprinkled throughout a world corrupted by the rebelliousness of sin. I might not be able to see a world as pure as that which appeared to Adam. However, I still can acknowledge the mercy and grace given by God to an undeserving world.

Therefore, I will appreciate my work, my purpose. As I ready myself for another week, I will strive to redeem my labor to its original creation for the glory of God as a faithful steward. I will separate my purpose from its problems. My purpose is the holy occupation that I have been blessed with. The resulting weariness and groaning are merely another reminder of my need for a Savior.

I am thankful that I have one.

man kneeling in front of cross

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for my job.  Thank you for giving  employment to provide for my needs and the needs of my family.  Help me to see beyond my groanings.  Help me to see the holy in my purpose.  Give me strength to endure the curse that is upon this earth for your glory.  Open me eyes to see all the blessings I have .  Thank you for the promise that one day your children will be freed from the corruption of this place.  Thank you for making a way through the salvation of Jesus Christ alone.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“When I wish I’d never been born…” – Feb 6

February 6, 2015

“Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? For then I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept; then I would have been at rest,…” Job 3:11-13

English: It was a 'dark and stormy night' ... ...

A sleepless mind fills with thoughts from visions of the night. The assault of daily troubles awaits the cover of darkness when conscious defenses teeter upon dreams. Thoughts are brought in stealth. Ears receive the whisper of a powerlessness to remedy what tomorrow holds. Trouble weighs the sleepless mind to suffocating depth in the same feathery pillow meant to comfort.

…man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.  (Job 5:7)

Trapped by troubles, exhaustion breeds dread into a desperate groan for release. Thoughts are conjured in this state of malaise that no stalwart practitioner of manliness will ever confess.

“If only I had never been born…”
“If only I would never awake…”
“If only my heart would fail…”
“If only a vein in my head might burst…”
“If only for a quick act of random violence…”

“If only…then I would be free from all that troubles my soul.”
“If only…then I would have rest.”

fall treeI have never had the troubles of Job. I have never endured the trials that he bore. Yet, I heard the same whispers as he under the cover of darkness within the privacy of my own skull. Maybe, Job and I are alone in our confused search for rest but I doubt that.  I have never admitted to these thoughts because I did not want my loved ones to think that I was suicidal and in need of counseling.

I am not suicidal and neither was Job.

The desire of Job’s lament was not for death. I believe that his thoughts meandered to the loss of existence as the release from the burden of his trial. It is a path that my own mind has meandered.  Thoughts of death are a confused route to achieve an intrinsic desire that few ever identify accurately.

Our souls long for rest.

Rest is what every soul desires when the yoke of a fallen world weighs heavily upon us.  Consider what we truly want when we bear the laden burden of troubles:

When we are in pain … we want rest from hurt.
When loves are gone…we want rest from heart break.
When abandoned …we want rest from loneliness.
When confronted with failure … we want rest from expectations.
When penniless…we want rest from need.
When addicted…we want rest from desire.

In times of great trials, our flesh cries out for this intrinsic desire – rest. We all come to the same desire as Job, whether it is due to great trials or insignificant annoyances. We all want rest. We want enduring, everlasting, rest.

This type of rest comes only to those who are in Christ. Death is only a source of rest to those who will enter into the loving arms of their heavenly Father when their time in this fallen world is over.

Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, for I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-29)

All of creation groans for the rest that Christ promises to those who come to him. As Children of God, we can know this rest in part, as we continue to walk in the Spirit along our individual paths of sanctification Christ has pioneered for us. We will not experience this perfect rest until we come to our eternal home.

It is in those dark nights, when my soul is laboring and heavily laden that the Spirit himself bears witness with my spirit. The Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I am a child of God and if a child then an heir – an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ. (Romans 8:16-17) The Spirit reminds me that I am His despite my confused thoughts for rest. I don’t want this life to end for a mere escape from trouble; a jump into the abyss.

I just want to go home.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  (Philippians 1:21)

My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.  (Philippians 1:23b)

Like Paul, I just want to be with Christ, which will be far better than anything this world has to offer. My hope is what comes through in those dark nights of indecipherable groaning. It is the inward groaning of a Child of God eagerly awaiting his adoption as son and the redemption of his body. (Romans 8:23)

For in this hope we were saved.  (Romans 8:24)

I believe that it is in those nights when my mind swirls with dark  “If only…” thoughts that the Spirit, who is always with me, steps in and helps me in my weakness.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  (Romans 8:26-27)

It is the Spirit who takes up my improper, inarticulate, longings to pray and intercedes on my behalf. Most of the time, I don’t know what I really need but on some occasions I am sure the Spirit’s intercession has included, “your beloved needs rest.” I imagine that in some cases  my Father’s response to the Spirit was:

Refresh his hope.

Remind him that all things work together for good, for those who are called according to My purpose.

Remind him that no one can separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Open his mind to the reality that if God is for him, who can be against him.

Show him that he is a conqueror through Christ who loves him.

Ask him, who can bring a charge against him, God’s elect.

These thoughts and so many more have come to my mind in response to groaning, “if only…” thoughts. We truly have a great and awesome Helper, who knows what we need and when we need it. He has always been faithful to me and I know that He always will be, even when I get confused and don’t know what I really want – to rest in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for sending your Spirit.  Thank you for giving me a hope beyond this world and all its troubles.  Help me to keep my eyes on the Spirit and to walk faithful with you.  Spirit, thank you for interceding for me.  Thank you for giving meaning to my confused groanings.  Thank you for sustaining my soul.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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THE FALL OF THE HOMELY HANDY – Nov 18

November 18, 2014

“Bear with me a little, and I will show you, for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf.  I will get my knowledge from afar and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.” Job 36:2-3

 

redI am not a particularly handsome man. Therefore, I naturally gravitated to the axiom of Red Green, “If women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” It is a quality I have striven to maintain as my youth has faded through the years. Being handy, I will usually at least try my own hand at a task before turning to someone else.

Recently, my daughter handed me her Kindle and asked me a familiar question, “Can you fix it?”

Her Kindle would not charge despite all the jiggling and positioning of the charger in the power port. I was now handed a dead device. I don’t think my daughter really believed that I could fix her Kindle, but a handy father was her last resort.

Kindle 2.0 The black Kindle screen defiantly reflected my stupefied face, challenging all my experience. I did not have the first clue of where to begin a display of handiness on this electronic device. Therefore, I was forced to revert to the unspoken sanctuary of the homely handy – YouTube.

A quick search revealed that my daughter’s Kindle suffered from a design flaw. The power port is inadequately supported and the connections to the printed circuit board (PCB) can easily be broken; hers were completely broken.

 

 

I soldered the broken connections of the power port onto the PCB, reassembled the device, and inserted the power cord. After a short period of recharging, I expectantly picked up the Kindle. I briefly saw in my daughter’s eye that little girl’s belief in her handy Dad. A glimmer of belief that faded when nothing happened after repeatedly pushing the power button.

It was not fixed.

It was not a stellar display of my handiness and I had a gnawing feeling that somehow I had diminished the future prospects of the homely handy. I had revealed the secret truth of many handymen – YouTube. One can find a YouTube video showing you how to do just about anything.

We live in a new era.

When I grew up, I went to my dad, the most knowledgeable person I knew, to inquire about how to fix something. That is no longer the case. I can find more knowledgeable experts with a few search words and a couple clicks of the mouse. Our need for the retained knowledge of the handy has changed with the information age.

As a result, the homely handy face an uncertain future.

Will women ever find the un-handsome as handy as before when they know what YouTube holds?

Has YouTube stolen the best hope of us homely handy men of ever being viewed as attractive by women?

I think that we do live in an era of change that has more important implications than the perceived handiness of homely men. We get an incredible volume of information from the internet. We have an assortment of experts available via our smartphones wherever we go.

This availability changes our need for those gatekeepers of knowledge. I believe this phenomenon of the information age is transforming how we use handymen, doctors, lawyers, engineers, bankers…and pastors.The Christian Flag displayed next to the pulpi...

There was a time when the local clergy were the most knowledgeable theologians people knew. They were the ones with the seminary education, the theology books, and the training. They were the experts regarding all things God. Therefore, many local pastors assumed the primary role of educator for the congregation.

Not much has changed in many congregations. Just consider the weekly activities of the typical Church. The majority of those activities revolve around education. The typical draw of Sunday morning is the sermon, which is modeled upon an academic lecture.

Is your pastor still the most knowledgeable theologian you know?

Mine isn’t.
How can he be?

I have access to some of the greatest theological minds of centuries within a few key strokes. I can watch world-class communicators eloquently preach the Word of God via streaming. I can listen to podcast after podcast regarding any theological question that I might come up with. And then there are the blogs…It is not fair to compare my local pastor to these individuals who I can access on the internet.

Now, I am not arguing that it should be this way. I am arguing that it is this way.

Like so many other areas of my life, the information age has changed what I need from my local church. There is a cultural shift happening that is driven by technology. The availability of information is changing nearly every aspect of our lives. It is changing our expectations. It has already changed our need for experts.

The rise of the mega-church seems to be a result of this collaboration between technology and our tendency to follow a dynamic teacher (an expert). Inversely, I wonder if some of the decline in the local church’s appeal is not related to a traditional education model whose value has been diminished by technology.

Does the local pastor face as precipitous a fall as the homely handyman?

In my next blog, we can wrestle with ideas of how the Church might want to respond to this information age to further God’s kingdom and glory.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the world that we live.  Thank you for the availability of such wonderful teaching and insight that I would never have had access to just 20 years ago.  You are doing incredible things in this world.  Father, give us wisdom to know how to meet needs.  Give us understanding to know what our hearts and souls need to grow in sanctification.  Help us to minister in this informational age.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

 

 

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“WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING IN ALL TIMES” – June 25

June 25, 2013

“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?  He who argues with God, let him answer it.”  Job 40:2

 Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?
I don’t know.

Why does God allow natural disasters?
I don’t know.

Why does God allow sickness?
I don’t know.

The Lord Answering Job Out of the Whirlwind, f...

The Lord Answering Job Out of the Whirlwind, from the Butts set. Pen and black ink, gray wash, and watercolour, over traces of graphite (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These are but a few of the questions that get asked of God from hurts.  I realize that there are theological answers to these questions.  However, the troubled are not usually crying out for theology.  They desire understanding.  They seek comfort in knowing why something bad is happening to them or their family.  They hope that in knowing the purpose behind their pain that their minds might be eased. There is a great difference between seeking answers from God and seeking comfort. Comfort, usually, comes from God without understanding.  Most of the time, we will never know the purpose behind a tragedy.  Therefore, we come before our Lord in faith:

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?  Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.  Job 42:2-3

There are questions that rarely get asked of God from abundance.

Why has God given me such a good family?
I don’t know.

Why has God given me a healthy body?
I don’t know.

Why has God given me a good job?
I don’t know.

Why has God kept me safe?
I don’t know.

These questions rarely get asked because we usually believe that we have the answer.  I have a tendency to associate good times with normal.  My life should normally be filled with blessing and abundance.  I view hard times and tragedies as abnormal.  That is why I am so quickly inclined to question God’s purposes when my life becomes abnormal.

Consider the pride in my mindset of normal; in assuming that I am due blessings and prosperity.  I imagine that the offense before God in our failure to acknowledge the source of our blessings is equal to that of our finding fault with Him in our pain.

Blessings provide physical and spiritual comfort but we must remember that they usually come to us from God without understanding.  Most of the time, we will never know the purpose behind  blessings or our prosperity.  Therefore, we must come before our Lord in faith:

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?  Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.  Job 42:2-3

We kneel before God in the same silence of faith at all times; in times of need and in times of abundance.

PRAYER: Lord, you know all things.  All understanding is with you.  No purpose of yours can be thwarted.  Father, forgive me for demanding answers in my hurt.  Forgive me for not praising you in my blessings.  All things are from you and are yours.  Lord, increase my faith.  Grant me comfort in knowing that there are some things that are too wonderful for me to understand.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“INFINITESIMALLY KNOWN” – June 20

June 20, 2013

“Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,…” Job 14:5

Every man and woman has been born and all will die. 

It is God who knits a person together in their mother’s womb.

It is God who determines when their time on this earth is complete. 

His hand directs cells to grow into His image.

His hand tells them to send us back to dust.

Our Lord knows us at a level beyond our self-knowledge.  He knows our inner-workings.  He knows our molecules.  He knows the building blocks of our very form.  He knows our DNA.  He knows me personally not because we were never introduced and He is good with names.  He knows my face because He instructed my DNA to grow in its shape with the nose, mouth, and eyes that I have.

The God of universe is the God of my DNA. 

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally between the two spiraling strands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The expanse of His presence is beyond measure.  The span of His arms, from finger tip to finger tip, reaches beyond the expanse of the stars.  Yet, His hand retains the delicacy to touch my DNA.  He has placed every strand of my DNA in the precise order that He wanted.  When He looks upon, there are no mysteries for the One who can see my very composition.

He knows my muscles that are being developed.

He knows my bone mass that is being lost.

He knows my thoughts and which cells contain them.

He knows the hairs on my head not by counting but by directing them to die.

Every breath I take comes from His grace of cells absorbing oxygen.

He raises me to my peak and eases me in my decline.

My defects bow to the same sovereign will as all that is perfect.

God inhabits the infinite and in the infinitesimal. 

No hiding place can remove us from His presence.

No conundrum of the human mind can outwit the One who formed our brain.

We can rest assured that the One who was so particular about our beginning and who has set our end, will be very involved with everything in the middle.

PRAYER: Lord, I humbly stand before you in awe.  It seems so foolish the attempts that I have made to live without recognizing You.  Your hand is evident all around me.  You hand is evident in me.  You are great and greatly to be praise.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“A PERFERENCE FOR GOD” – June 12

June 13, 2013

“Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him!  But the thunder of his power who can understand?’  Job 26:14

I am rather particular about what I like:

I like my coffee with a little cream but not too much;
Salsa should have a little kick but it shouldn’t scorch my taste buds;
I am driven inside when it is too hot or too cold;
I don’t like it when it is too windy or breezeless;
I like my dessert sweet but not too sweet.

Everyone has preferences.  Those preferences have ranges that depend upon the person.  When the ranges of our particular preferences are exceeded, we become uncomfortable.  However, there are another set of ranges that affect our very existence.  Our lives cannot be sustained if the ranges of these parameters are exceeded:

The sun cannot be any closer or further away;
The atmosphere cannot be any thicker or thinner;
My heart rate cannot get too high or too low;
My immune system has to be sensitive but not too sensitive;
I need some gravity but not too much.

We are very delicate creatures in terms of the mighty forces at work in this universe and there is no greater power than God Almighty.  He embodies forces that can turn our fragile forms to dust in an instant.  Who can stand before the weight of His glory?  Who can take the thunder of His voice?  Who can bear the intensity of His image?  Who can comprehend His ways?

God is beyond the range that our forms can accommodate.  I am incapable of taking all of God.  He has to moderate His power in order that we can know Him without being hurt.  He has to show us glimpses of the divine in the safety of His hand.  There is no place for pride in the full revelation of God.  Humility is our only response when we consider the grace that God has shown us by limiting Himself in His own revelation just so that we can bear it.  I am astounded by my own arrogance by taking God’s limited revelation and limiting it even further by my own preferences.  I wonder at how often I find myself living as though I control the boundaries of God in my life.

I cannot bear the silence of God.
I strain against the whisper of His voice in frustration.
Yet, I am afraid to hear the full force of His voice.

So many of us live in an attempt to set limits on God’s involvement in our lives; like that is even possible.  We like a little bit of God but not too much.  We don’t want God to exceed the range of our preferences for fear of Him making us uncomfortable.  We cringe at the thought of God calling us to a lifestyle that may bear the ridicule for being a Jesus Freak.

Humility recognizes that we don’t have that kind of control. Humility comes before God willing to take all that He has to give.  That may mean patiently waiting in His silence.  That may mean obediently following the roar of His leading.  Only the sinful heart thinks it can manage God Almighty.  God is never a preference of our lifestyle.  He is the very essence of our life.  He is the air that we breathe.  He is the source of every heart beat.

May we humbly seek all that He is revealing to us, no matter where that leads.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for allowing yourself to be known by me.  Thank you for opening my eyes.  Thank you for breathing life into my dead soul.  Father, I want to know You.  Help me to be open to all that you have to reveal to me.  Sustain me in your silence.  Give me courage to follow when you speak.  Teach me to know your voice.  Jesus, keep me humble before your mighty throne.  Do not let the arrogance of my heart think that I can manage my obedience.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“MADONNA’S BABY” – June 11

June 11, 2013

“Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?  Their offspring are established in their presence, and their descendants before their eyes.”  Job 21:7-8

Baby's cradleA little more than a decade and a half ago, my wife and I were without children.  This was not by choice.  We had been hoping to be what so many couples seemed to just become.  Yet, the gift of a child remained a mere dream.  Our friends and family would decide to have a baby and a couple months later they were pregnant.  We waited.  We watched the world growing around us and we waited.  Our waiting involved doctors, schedules, temperatures, medication, procedures, and prayer.

My wife and I were on a cycle induced emotional roller-coaster.  We received an unwanted answer to our prayers every month.  The optimism of getting the science right was always ground away in the reality of the elusiveness of life.  The hope of God doing a miracle was dashed against the hard answer of no.  Every month tears would be shed quietly in disappointment.  The question of why, was underlining many a cry out to God.  My wife and I would push back the feelings of hopelessness and try again for another month.  That was our walk through infertility.

It was during one of these low points when the answer of no was still bruising our hearts that the media heralded an event that pierced me through.  Madonna, the “Material Girl”, the woman who had published a sex book, the performer who had been fined for the explicitness of her concerts, was pregnant.

God was allowing Madonna to have a baby.

English: Madonna performing "La Isla Boni...I remember being incredulous about that news.  It was just wrong.  We loved God.  We were striving to follow Christ and glorify Him through this path of infertility that He had given us.  We were children of God and yet this woman, who denigrated the name of the Lord and His people, was being blessed with a descendent.  It was too much.  I was angry with God and the seeming injustice of His plan.  The unfairness of that news was palpable.

I remembering questioning, just like Job, why the wicked prosper.  It is so difficult to wait patiently upon the Lord when those who want nothing to do with God are still healthy and prospering.  They seem to be doing extraordinarily well without God.  It is easy to even start to admire and envy the success and freedom that those who oppose God seem to possess.

We are in trouble if our hope turns to a prosperous and healthy earthly life.  We will struggle if our joy and happiness lies in being materially prosperous between now and the grave.  The reality is that the wicked do prosper and the godly do suffer.  All you have to do is be observant to discover that there are not always detrimental material consequences to sin.  The good and righteous don’t always have the storybook ending in this life.  There are some whose sin does cause them to suffer in this life.  However, there are others whose sin is the source of their material success.

I don’t have an answer as to why the wicked are allowed to prosper on this earth.

“Will any teach God knowledge, seeing that he judges those who are on high?” Job 21:22

I do know that we all, wicked and righteous, will lie down alike in the dust, and the worms will cover us (Job 21:26).  Christ did not come into this world to make our lives better.  He did not become righteousness for us so that we would be prosperous and successful.  He came to save us from the grave and the punishment due our sin.

Death does not respect wealth or poverty.  It is not swayed by age.  It is not delayed due to a person’s happiness nor is it hurried by another’s misery.  Death comes at its appointed time to all.  Our faith in Christ is what matters at that time.  Our hope is for our reward beyond the grave that Christ saves us from.

Until that time, we are clay in God’s hand.  While we are on this earth, God will do with us as He has planned.  He will use circumstances to exposes areas of our lives where we have misplaced hope.  He will use suffering to show us where we love something more than Him.  He may use our misery for others in ways that we will never know.  We may struggle in our existence for a purpose beyond our comprehension.

Are you really ready to teach God how He should run the universe?  Do you think that you can educate God on fairness?  It did not work out well for Job when He tried it.

Our faith is so intertwined with our trust in God.  They are one and the same.  You cannot have faith without trusting in the promises of God.  We are told that God is working out everything for our good.

My wife and I have seen the faithfulness of God in our infertility.  We were blessed with two children through adoption.  He blessed us in a way that we had not anticipated.  I cannot imagine being a dad to anyone else.  I can now see God’s hand working through everything to bring those wonderful children into our lives.  Infertility and all of its disappointments and struggles was part of that process.  Now, I still don’t know why.  I don’t know what God has in store for my kids.  I don’t know the legacy that will come from them being raised and loved by my wife and I, but I do know it will be good.

My hope and prayer for them is that my Redeemer will be theirs; that their hope will be as mine, beyond the grave in the everlasting and loving arms of Jesus Christ.

I do know that God’s plan will be so worth it all.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for giving me a hope that is beyond this world.  Forgive me for getting so focused on what is happening to me that I lose focus on who You are.  Thank you for having a plan that is for my good.  Help me to endure well for your glory in all that you have called me to be a part of here on this earth.  Lord, use me; mold me; make me into a vessel of value for your kingdom.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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