Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Twenty two verses, that's all it took...

Life sometimes comes screaming around the corner toward us and slams us with insurmountable problems. Just when you think everything is going good, isn't so! Or is it?

There is a life lesson and amazing story of one such a person who had such an encounter in the Bible. Job was his name. He had three qualities that endowed him with greatness on a spiritual plain. And he had physical attributes that associated him with greatness beyond measure in his time.

In the material world Job had much. Seven sons and three daughters. Seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred donkeys. He was well known and was the greatest of all men of the east. Often his children would feast or party and Job would make sacrifices to the Lord to atone for their sin. Spiritually, Job's qualities were amazing, he was a man who was perfect, upright, fearing God and hating evil.

The book of Job is an eye opener. The very first chapter, speaks of unparalleled greatness and success of one man, and within the space of a short twenty verses everything is gone! One day, Job receives one of his messengers, and is told of how his oxen and donkeys were destroyed. At the same time, another messenger arrives and tells Job that fire came and burned up all the sheep and servants, and yet again the messenger comes and tells Job the worst news of all...his seven sons and three daughters have been killed!

Twenty two versus is all it took...but consider this;
Satan was going around the earth, to and fro. The Lord asked him "have you considered my servant Job? - do what you will with him, only do not touch his life".

Verse one starts out proclaiming Job's greatness and asset register. After all the calamities befall him, verse 22 concludes: In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

I know that for many of us, the curve ball of life and all she throws at us, can be very disconcerting. Seems like troubles come our way relentlessly and we feel that we are unable to cope with another day of hardship. For many it is a health issue, a diagnosis you never dreamed would touch your mortal life, suddenly becomes reality when you go for a routine check up. For someone else it is a financial nightmare that you just didn't see coming. Others, it is an economy doing strange down turns that spiral your nest egg into peril. A child gone astray perhaps, or even a foreclosure on property you banked on spending the rest of your life in. Or the loss of income by default of a lay off.

It would be foolishness to make light of any of these very real difficulties, because they do happen, and they touch people that are near and dear almost too often to imagine.

What is the secret to being able to cope with calamity when it strikes? And strike it will! I glance over at Job and read of his wealth, and that looks appealing, but achievable? I don't know. I look at his spiritual qualities, and then I see a glimmer of hope. I believe his material greatness came by way of his spiritual obedience. Is this a standard we can achieve? In our own strength, no. But if we were able to walk through life with perfection, being upright and God fearing wouldn't that be something to be desired? I believe it is attainable. Through a belief in Christ and what He accomplished on the cross at calvary, by taking the sin of the world upon Himself, he made a way for us. Does it mean then when we come to Christ in our frailty that we too will have to endure such hardship as Job? Maybe not. It will not be easy, there will be difficulties to encounter, but the promise we have is that "He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure". Job was the perfect example making it attainable for even us today. He had it all. He lost it all. He never once denied God, never once blamed God, bore an incredible testimony of trust in the Lord and was rewarded over and over for his stand in faithfulness and worship to God.

If Job paved the way, then we too can expect hardship, bad news, poor outcome of circumstances, the list is endless, but if our hope and faith and trust is in the Lord then losing what we have is worth gaining what has been promised to us by Christ - eternity in paradise.

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