This past week, we have been reading through the book of Job. Never in my life have I, to some degree, related to Job. Not necessarily because of his loss or illness, but rather the question "why me Lord?" I'm sure most of us can relate to that question. Especially when you are trying to do what the Lord has asked of you. I've come to the conclusion as a follower of Jesus that God's will sometimes conflicts with our will. We might be doing what God has asked of us, but the will of our flesh doesn't like it. I heard myself say the other day that living in God's will is sometimes hard. I've realized it's hard because my own will gets in the way.
In the last ten years, I've noticed that the months of August and September seem to be the hardest months for me. Seasonally, they are the hottest months of the year. It also seems to be the time God turns up the heat in my refining process.
Something in me this time wanted to forfeit reading this book this time. I don't know if it is too depressing or if it is because so many of us are currently facing similar circumstances, that I would rather read a book of the Bible that is more uplifting. It is even interesting that this book, which was written long before the others is nestled in between the books of Esther and the Psalms. I wonder if God placed it there because He knew that eventually a reading plan would be set up. In all of God's wisdom, He knew August/September would be the last months of the summer season, usually the hottest months of the year which also means fall is coming, a season of letting go. It is interesting that this man, Job who lived long before the nation of Israel, believed in God and even all those thousands of years ago, still struggled with the same issues, sufferings and thoughts as we do today.
This past month has been a struggle for several people that I know. Even recently I was faced with a reality that has brought me to a place of fearfulness. (I have to say I am trying to stay faithfilled) One of the most well known scriptures from the book of Job is from chapter 3 verse 25 "What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me." I believe more than ever this is true in our lives. Just the other day, I was glancing back at 16 years worth of prayer journals. In reading those journals a majority of my most difficult times have been in August, yet it seems that most of the dreams that I have had from the Lord were in the month of August. Job 33:14-18 says, "For God does speak - now one way, now another- though man may not perceive it. 15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds, 16 he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, 17 to turn man from wrongdoing and keep him from pride, 18 to preserve his soul from the pit, his life perishing by the sword." Its true. Most of my dreams from the Lord seem like warnings.
Fear seems to be one of the main schemes used by the devil to paralyze his victims. Job lost everything including his health. He was a very wealthy man with a big family. Then Satan took what he feared and used it against him. What is even more interesting is that God chose Job to be the one Satan could bring torment to. That would seem disturbing. But that is only because God "knew" Job and where his heart was, that he was a man who revered the Lord and was truly good. God did not fear that Job would turn away. Think about that for a minute, God is not afraid of anyone or anything. Even after Job's life seemed to fall apart and his friends gave him a hard time, Job says in chapter 17:9 "Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger." That was what Nehemiah asked for in his days of distress, strength. Only the strength that comes from the Lord can carry us through suffering. Job in his distress, hung on for dear life.
Thankfully, the book of Job ends on a good note. Chapter 42 is all about Job being restored everything, in a double portion. Job 42:2 says "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." So true. God can do all things and even when enemy plots out his scheme to bring you down, God's plan always prevails. This past week Pastor Jeff put a new twist on "nothing is impossible with God." No thing is impossible for Him. Even when it seems like "nothing" is happening, it is impossible for God to do nothing about it. God is always working.
The book of Job is such a picture of the average Christians life. We live our lives doing what we know is right and then because we are in the world, we are subject to the side effects of sin. Those being sickness, financial ruin do to world economy and being wronged. We can to nothing about any of these things that are out of our control. Most of the time, it just happens. But it is all in our attitude and how we choose to walk it out. By faith or by fear. By faith keeping focused that Jesus is leading us, even in the unknown areas. Or by fear, allowing us to be paralyzed by or circumstances and not moving at all. I believe our double portion isn't going to be found here on earth as Job's was. Our double portion will be when we get to meet Jesus face to face. As the old hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" sings, "...and the things of earth will grow strangely dim..." It won't even matter when we get there what happened here. That is when we will finally be in perfect health, no more financial worries and no more grief, pain or fear! It's all about enduring, just like Job did and hanging in there, even when it seems to be the end, there's always a happy ending when Jesus is involved.