Category: Job


Bears and Volcanoes

Job 40-42

  What’s the closest you’ve ever come to seeing and hearing God?  I feel as though I have several…I remember as a child after going on a trip to Monterey Mexico I had a dream about running into Jesus’s arms…  I still believe that was more than just a dream.. and while it was a very loving simple dream It frightened me.

   During my daughter’s adoption God did a lot of hand holding and nudging but while in her country of birth the stress level was pretty high due to quite a lot of unknowns.  God carried me, and when I’d doubt Him and His ability to help, He’d move mountains in such a way there was no doubt it was HIM.  That scared me to the core.  I kept trying to figure things out for myself till finally God said, “MINE!”  Then to realize it was all His, that He was the blessed controller of all things and my attempts to pretend otherwise seemed rather ridiculous.  Because when you really boiled my stress, worry and fuss down I was pulling a Job, I was telling the creator of the universe, No you’re wrong, here let me do it right.  It’s a perfect recipe for truly understanding the idea of Fearing the Lord.  He’s one big God, sufficient in all things, and he loves little ol me. 

I’ve always bragged about having great fears.. I have two of them:  bears and volcanoes.  Both are a perfectly healthy fear.  Both are powerful, majestic, magnificent creations.  I’m not about to walk up to a Kodiak Bear and flick it on the nose.  I’m not going to stick around during an eruption to see the “pretty” lava, or observe a pyroclastic blast…  I respect the might of the bear and volcano, I should then respect even more their Creator.  What’s even more unbelievable is that same Creator took the time to create me, with the same tender care and rapt interest He formed me. He pursues me, cares for me.  Now that deserves respect, and love.  

To conclude with my thoughts on Job I wanted to point out this: God didn’t make a perfect world.  We can’t stay in Eden, but even outside the garden, the rules are not as they should be.  The bad guys don’t always get punished and the good guys don’t always win.  satan challenged God to prove that Job Loved God for more reasons than because Job had a good life. While Job whines, questions and challenges God, he never turns his back on God nor curses him as Job’s wife suggested.  Job continued to Love God even during the bad times.  That’s love born of free will, not forced from us through a series of promised rewards and punishments.  Sometimes we draw even closer to God during and as a result of hard times.  Job, a righteous man to begin with, was now even closer to God because of his hardships… may I be able to say the same during tough times in my life.

Funny Feathers

Job 38-39

 I know God is admonishing Job.. but I can’t get over how much He appreciates and loves every detail of his creation.. The small section where he goes off about the Ostrich is almost comical. “I am GOD of Heaven and earth… and isn’t that Ostrich fun to watch.” I can picture Job shaking in his boots.. then stopping to ponder the Ostrich for a second then go back to shaking in his boots.

Don’t Should On Me

Day 13 Job 35-37

Elihu, Elihu, Elihu…. SO wise yet so full of “shoulds.”  Elihu is the young man who almost gets it… but falls short.  His argument seems sound, repent Job and you will find favor again with God.  Yet the problem is like the friends before him, the very ones he mocked for failing,  Elihu still assumes that God is punishing Job. Well, I guess Elihu puts an interesting spin on it and says God is Wooing Job with pain to get him to turn away from away from sin.  In Elihu’s defense, what little history exists seems to back up his theory,  Adam and Eve sin-they get kicked out of paradise.  The world is evil – God sends a flood.  Man builds a tower instead of scattering and multiplying-God destroys tower and scatters them.  So their theories hold some water… and yet they are still wrong.  Job is not being punished for any wrong doings.  He’s being used for a greater good.. to prove that Job’s love for God is such that he will never curse God.  (Lord, may I never be a righteous as Job so that you would test me in a similar manner).

    Here is what I take most issue with in regards to Elihu:  He’s “Shoulding” all over his friend. According to Elihu Job should be bowing to God in reverence over God’s power, not whining to God about pain and unjust suffering.  Job should be asking for God’s mercy not demanding explanations.  Should Should Should. 

   During mentorship training at my church my good buddy Traci, the Social Worker teaching the class, taught us this:  “Don’t should on yourselves and don’t should on others.”   All a “should” will do is create more stress and prevent less movement forward.  I think Job is in so much pain I will never be able to relate… He doesn’t need a big pile of should shoveled on top of him… he needs a friend to say, “I’m sorry, you have a right to hurt, you have a right to question, and you have a God that listens even when we feel like he doesn’t.  So it’s ok to tell it to God.  Maybe one day we’ll learn what good can come of this but for now you have a right to hurt and feel angry.”

Lord, may the words of Elihu never come out of my mouth… yet I know it has, I get the feeling that while I understand that I am not to should on others I get the feeling that I do it all the time… show me my shoulds I’ve piled up on myself and others.  help me to not should on others.

(for those grammar nuts out there please forgive me for the grave misuse of the world should.  Yes, I’m aware that in the context in which I’m using the word another s-word feels fitting as well,  I think that’s funny… do you?)

The Orthodox Paradox

Day 12 Job 32-34 

Elihu, who I’m sure is bristling about the young whippersnapper comments just made by Job, is out to prove himself wise.. and doesn’t do a half bad job at it.  Elihu is still saying Job must have done something wrong… just not being too specific in what he thinks Job did wrong other than quoting back what Job’s been saying.  So he’s a lot nicer than the other “friends” who invented crimes of Job to explain Job’s circumstances.  Elihu is right when he says God can’t be wrong..  He didn’t make a mistake in regards to Job, and it was good of Elihu to point this out because Job is getting really close to saying “I’m not wrong, God is wrong.”  However, Elihu is wrong about Job’s character… Job never claimed to be sinless, but he is righteous (meaning he does the right thing). He hasn’t done anything Big to deserve punishment of such a magnitude… Would it be so bad to take Elihu’s advice and say to God, “Obviously I’m guilty of something big, whatever it is I will stop, but God can you show me what I’m being punished for?”  You know Job hasn’t really been all that humble…  BUT, again we’re still stuck in this Orthodox way of thinking… that when we are in pain (emotional, physical, circumstantial) that it is God punishing us.  That’s not what happened to Job.. so what’s really going on and what is the deeper lesson to all this?

Was Job 33: 23-30 a Jesus sighting?!

Day 11 Job 29-31

 I think Job in part subscribes to the equation: God punishes the evil, except in his case he knows the math isn’t adding up… He thinks that he’s being punished by God and thus trying to figure out what he did so wrong but coming up blank. I especially appreciate when he start complaining about the young people… Ah the youth, never living up to the elderly’s expectations. It would appear the youth have been leading the world to hell in a hand basket since almost the dawn of time.

Awe

Day 10 Job 24-28

In Job 26: 5-14 I love the illustrations Job uses to highlight his awe of God’s works.   The reality in which we live in is pretty amazing isn’t it?   I feel that awe when a display of colors stretch over the bottoms of clouds as the sun slips past our edge of the earth;  when I feel magnificent touch of  warm  ocean water on my skin,and take in the sheer power of its waves; taking in the vastness of space, and the curious nature of time;  along side completeness I feel when I am with my husband;  and the tears that come during worship.  I am in awe of our God.

  Now God’s done all that, and I am in awe, yet like Job’s friends all too often I search for wisdom in places I shouldn’t.  I try to figure out almost everything myself first, and can work myself in to a frenzy doing it too.  When really sometimes we have to let go and let God.  Job is right, God alone knows the way to Wisdom, He knows the exact place to find it.  and why should we doubt him? Why is He the last place I look.  He created ALL this, He knows how it works and He knows me… He’s not too big to care about me.

   Lord, why do I search elsewhere for wisdom?  why are You the last place I turn to in desperation?  Help me turn towards You the first time, remind me of Your power, remind me of Your grace, the remind me that in Your vastness when you have the ability to create heaven and earth you also have the ability to know and love me by name.

Does Repentance = Healing?

Day 9 Job 21-23

Job initially makes a good point.. thus far his friends stand by the belief that evil people get punished by God, therefore people who are sick like Job must have been evil.  But Job points out that not all evil people suffer, some die quite comfortably, placed in fancy graves and honored for things they didn’t do.  It’s certainly our human desire that the evil get what they have coming to them, that they die a horrible death… but that doesn’t always happen it just doesn’t.

After Eliphaz is done taking his pot-shots at Job,  I totally disagree when he says “[God] roams the heavens wrapped in clouds how can He see us?”  But then suddenly  he starts to sound really familiar… it’s essentially repent and you will be healed.  I am suddenly reminded of a T V evangelist.  Job 21-30 gave me chills… and I’m trying to sort out why.  It’s like it’s half right, “right-ish”  and I want this guy to be just plain WRONG… This story though is making a good point.  First off Eliphaz is wrong about Job and God… God knows Job, loves Job and cares about Job.  Job isn’t being punished for any of his wrong doings so telling Job to “come to terms with God… and let God clean out the evil” isn’t going to work.  Even though what Eliphaz is saying seems to make sense and one could even argue you see a smidgen of care involved in the words, Eliphaz is wrong.  Life is not that simple.  God’s love is simple, salvation is simple, but life circumstances isn’t.  An Evil man dying of cancer who repents before God during his last moments on earth will likely still die a painful death, but will live with God in eternity.  I dare say Eliphaz wouldn’t like THAT reality.  Not many of us do, but I stand in awe of it… the depth of love that comes from our God. 

     Repent and you may be healed, but you get even better, an eternal life serving The Lord.  Everyone dies, a lot of us suffer during our lifetime.  There are times God allows pain and times God takes it away.  I do not pretend to understand the why to it.  I do know this, God asks us live life with what we have to the fullest. In order to do that we have to seek him as Job does, to the North, South, East, West. We come to Him, and He will take us seriously.  Sometimes God heals, Sometimes he doesn’t.  In either case we can still honor Him and trust Him.  He knows the bigger picture.

Sick? You Must Have Been Bad.

Day 8 Job 17-20

It’s an interesting formula Job’s friends are trying to put together… If you are evil you are going to be punished, your life is not going to end well.. Therefore if your life is not turning out so well you must have been evil.  Praise God our judicial system doesn’t function this way! “Oh you have cancer?  Then we should probably slap on a five year jail sentence too ’cause you must have done something real bad for God to give you the cancer..”    Er.. that doesn’t sound right to me.

     Did anyone else jump out of their seat when they read Job 19: 25-27?!  Jesus sighting, salvation sighting!!

If We Die, Will We Live Again?

January 8th Job 14-16

Verse 14: “If we humans die will we live again?Thant’s my question.  All through these difficult days I keep hoping, waiting for the final change–for resurrection!…(then later around vs 16) You’ll watch over every step I take, but you won’t keep track of my missteps.  My sins will be stuffed in a sack and thrown into the sea– sunk in deep ocean.”

 These verses really stood out to me.. I just looked it over in NIV and it’s not quite as obvious, but I think this is my earliest (chronologically) glimpse of salvation… Job suddenly through his pain sees the need and the design for life after death and how that can become possible. In verse 14 The Message actually uses the word resurrection, NIV calls it renewal. God set the concept of eternity in our souls… there is more to life than life here on earth. Job really ponders this, and by golly the man gets it.. for a fleeting moment.

   I remember my great-grandmother GG.. a few months before she died.  I’ve thought of this moment a lot while reading Job.  GG was ready to die… and with tears in her eyes she told me she was ready, almost desperate for death.  She was in her 80s, her husband had passed away a few years earlier.  The time was near and she longed for it, an end to pain.  I saw her once more before she died,  while she was dying.  It had come, then end, what she desired most, and she seemed peaceful because of that. 

    Job knows nothing of life after death, he desires death, yet takes the time to  hope and question, “If we die, will we live again?”

Then this says it so well: “Homesick with longing for the creature you made, You’ll call and I’ll answer!”   Yes.. this is what I long for in death.. God’s call, and I’ll answer!  Thanks Job for that image of The Lord Homesick for me, calling me!

Lord you long for me?  You call me?  Wow.    Thank you.

The Tummy Bug Perspective

Day 6 Job 10-13

I read todays scriptures in bed..  I got the link out to the  Facebook group a day early because I knew I was getting pretty sick with a tummy bug.  I’m not the nicest sick person in the world, I don’t like hurting and I especially don’t like tummy bugs.  But I felt well enough to get the boys to school in rainy weather, go to the store and pick up my “I’m sick” supplies  and make it back home.  I may have looked like death warmed over but I got the job done. I’m kind of proud I accomplished even that little bit, and I’m kind of looking forward to taking the day “off” as much as  Mommy can anyhow…

Why am I telling you all this? Well first off I just really want to complain to somebody, I hurt, I feel sick, and while my baby girl keeps giving me hugs and pat pat pats I desire sympathy from my friends and family.  It warms the heard when a friend send a message like I’m praying for you, Hugs, get feeling better.  These are the kinds of friends Job needed, but did not have. Secondly, while my family hasn’t been wiped out with by a tornado, and my pain is minimal I feel like being sick is a unique frame of mind with which to read Job. I will, however,  refrain from thanking the bacteria in my belly that made this unique perspective possible, if that’s ok.

I’ve never known pain so bad I wished I would die, or wished I was never born… the best I’ve got compared to Job is during my battles with depression I knew the feeling of wishing with all my heart that I didn’t have to get out of bed.  I’ve been so emotionally tied in nots before I just pleaded that it all be over.  What I needed during those times in my life was help.  I needed help from my God to get out of that bed, and once again face life, no matter how bland and tasteless it had become, I needed friends to surround me and just be there to make me smile again.  During the adoption of my daughter I felt wrapped in God’s reassurances despite being frightened by my circumstances and all the unknowns of the process while staying in a foreign country… my friends hourly sent messages of love, prayer, mourned with me while I struggled with disappointing news and celebrated when we learned great news… they were there for me!  God was there for me! 

Job, while his friends came in his hour of need, didn’t give Job what he needed.. love.  I really honestly don’t think their words or even their presence was an act of love on their part.  I think they were there to gloat over the man who had been so perfect this whole time.  I think they took pleasure in Jobs pain. there is a part of me that can relate to that… I mean I can relate to Job’s friends (Say What?!).  Let’s be honest with ourselves shall we… the magazines are in  the check-out line shouting out the latest misfortunes and crimes of Hollywood’s luckiest stars.  Oh how dare Jessica Simpson be a home wrecker!  Oh yes it’s SO my business to know who is gay and who is not… So sad about the desperate housewife running off her husband and being so mean to her co-star… did I mention I dropped by the grocery store this morning?  I guess you know then what I was  taking guilty pleasure in reading.  I’m no good friend to anybody who will ever be on the cover of Us… but I don’t think even reading the covers with a smile on my lips is kind, friend or not.  Here is the root of the issue.  Perhaps there is a part of me that desires to have their good looks, their attention, their talent.  But I don’t, and for the most part I’m ok with that BUT there is always that little part that looks to see how has Queen Mother Angelina Jolie failed today. It’s because that same part of me that envies them also wants to see them fail, knock them down a few notches and make them less perfect.  I’d never pick up or purchase one of those magazines!  But I look at those covers every single time.

   And you thought I was perfect.. HA!  I’m not saying what I do is the worst thing in the world all I’m saying is I get it and those are NO friends to Job.  I get a kick out of him calling them pompous quacks and that silence in their only wisdom.  LOL that needs to be painted on a sign and hung on the wall at The Brunchery!  Wait, am I taking guilty pleasure in witnessing a fight that occurred close to the beginning of the human race?  Yeah… I guess so.  Ooops.

   Lord,   I’m so glad my friends are not like Job’s “friends.”  Mine know what to say and when to say it, and it’s all said in love.  I thank You for them, and thank You for You.  You are the ultimate friend and offer the ultimate love!  I confess I fall short… help mend that flaw in me, highlight it, then together let’s obliterate it!  I don’t ever want to be like Job’s friends again.