When I talked to Brennan yesterday, he had a piece of advice for me that I can honestly say I didn't expect. "I really think you should look at the book of Job." I replied, "I've read it." Which is true, I have. But you know what he said? "Read it again." I really respect his opinion, so when I found myself with six fantastic hours of having the house to myself today, I couldn't get what he said out of my head, so I pulled out my Bible. One thing I love love love about Scripture is that it's so true that you can read the same book or passage several different times and get something different out of it each time. I looked back at the post I wrote last year after reading it, and I see how different my focus is. I also noticed how much less like a "chore" it felt to read it this time.
Job 1:1 "that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil" - Immediately, this phrase jumped out me in the first verse. Here and later on in the book, it talks about how Job basically did everything right by man's standards. He seems like the model Christian, basically. Okay, not Christian, since this in the Old Testament, but you get my point. God chose the man he saw as loyal, the one who was, for all intents and purposes, doing everything right, to be tested by satan. If God would allow Job to be tested, then I certainly shouldn't be surprised if God allows me to be tested.
Job 1:20 "Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped." Job was human, just like me, but at the news that he had just lost everything and everyone that was important to him, his first instinct was to fall to the ground and...not cry. He WORSHIPED. He worshiped the God that he knew had just taken all of this away from him, because he knew that that was the same God who had given it all to him in the first place. I just wish that was my instinct.
Job 3 - Job LAMENTS his birth...I have to admit, I enjoyed reading this chapter if only because it reminded me that Job was human, first and foremost, and that he wasn't excluded from having emotions that aren't God-honoring like the rest of us.
Job 5:18-21 "For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal. He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you. In famine, he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue, and shall not fear destruction when it comes." This was such a great reminder for me of what a redeemer God is, of the story he has given me that is already so full of redemption. It made me see that that redemption isn't going to stop, ever, because that's the kind of Father that I have.
Job 13:15 "Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face." I love this verse because I feel like it explains so well where I am right now. God has given me this affliction, but I refuse to let it weaken the hope I have in who he is. Every time I start to feel down, he sends someone along to remind me of what I know to be true. Every. Single. Time. And yet, even though I know of the hope that I have, I'm not going to stop crying out. I'm not going to stop being noisy and needy, begging him to release me from this pain. Like Pastor Chris said, I don't have time not to.
Job 19:25 "For I know that my Redeemer lives..." Ah, the beauty in seven simple words. The God that I serve died to be my Savior and now LIVES to be my King! I am not alone. My God is alive and working all day every day to bring me to what is best. He is redeeming, even when I don't see it.
Job 33:14 "For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it." And that's the thing, I can't see it. I can't understand it. That's why God is God, and I am not. He has powers beyond anything I can understand, and has reasoning that is beyond me because he can see the whole picture, past and present and future for all eternity, when sometimes I have a next to impossible time seeing right now. His ways are so much higher than mine, and I am so incredibly thankful for that.
Job 33:15-30 - This passage is too long for me to want to type it all out, but I loved it because it shows the heart of who God is. God doesn't give us what we deserve. He gives us paradise instead. He saves us from hell, and all he asks is that we seek him with all our heart, everything we are, everything we have and repent of our sins. That doesn't seem like a bad trade at all, considering what Jesus had to do to make it possible.
Job 36:15 "He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity." This verse hit me straight in the heart, today more than any other one in the book. Over and over and over again I have heard people (Taylor, Kyla, Caitie, Brennan, Pastor Chris, etc.) tell me that God is using this trial to draw me closer to him and his heart. I heard them, but it never really clicked for me until I read this verse. God is using something that seems so negative and is honestly really, really hard to deal with some days to deliver me from so much more evil, the sin that lies in my heart. As doctors come down to fewer and fewer options, I am left with no other choice but to hear God, because God is the one thing that I can trust in when I can't trust in myself or anything else. All of these sweet friends of mine were right all along; I just didn't get it until now. He is using this because I need to be closer to him, seeking him more, pursuing him more wholeheartedly. I need to know him better and more deeply, the same way he longs to know me and for me to know him.
Job 42:5-6 "I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." I felt God in a new way today. It's hard to explain, but things make sense now that didn't make sense before, things I had heard countless times before. What a testament to how God pursues us; even once we have given our lives to him, he'll still work to make us fall in love with him more and more every day.
I guess that's because salvation is so much more than the day we accept Christ as our Savior, or the day we get baptized. It's a day-by-day, always ongoing process of God molding us and forming us into the people we were meant to be all along, the people we would have been if it weren't for the Fall. For once, there's no shame in saying you're a work in progress. We all are, and we all will be until we end up in Paradise praising the King who carried us there through this broken and chaotic world. He loves us that much. We're worth that much to him. Even when we don't treat him like he's worth it to us. The beauty of unconditional love.