Sunday, January 8, 2012

Finding Strength Through Suffering

This past week's reading plan:

Jan 1: Gen 1-3
Jan 2: Gen 4-7
Jan 3: Gen 8-11
Jan 4: Job 1-5
Jan 5: Job 6-9
Jan 6: Job 10-13
Jan 7: Job 14-16
Jan 8: Job 17-20

          I was really happy with this week's reading experience. Reading in chronological order instead of start to finish has refreshed my "reading experience" and I'm excited to see what new things I will learn. This week I want to tell you about Job. Job, my friends, is a cool dude. I don't remember the last time I actually sat down and read from the book of Job, other than in Sunday school or what not, so this was a totally new experience for me.

     Job was an extremely devout follower of God who remained strong and courageous in times of intense trial. In the first chapter of this book, a messenger came to Job and told him that all of his oxen and donkeys were stolen. Directly after another messenger came and told him that all of his sheep had burned to death, and then another messenger came and told him his camels were also stolen and his servants were murdered. To top it off, a fourth messenger came and told him that the house in which his sons and daughters were eating had collapsed, and all were killed.

In just a few short moments, he lost everything. 

And do you know what he said?

"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

In the next chapter, Job was smitten with excruciating boils. When his wife asked him if he was angry with God, if he would curse God, he asked her "What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2:10)

This struck a chord with me. I have been angry at God for far smaller and less devastating circumstances than what Job had to endure. I have questioned my faith and his existance because of prayers I thought were going unanswered. I expected God to provide me only with the good things. 

That was wrong of me.

The blessings in my life are...well, just that. Blessings.

They are not priveledges.  
I can not be angry with God when his plans differ from my own.

Like Job, I must learn to praise the Lord wholeheartedly in times of trial, remembering that each negative experience is a test and an opportunity to grow into a stronger person than I was before. 

"Behold, Happy is the man whom God correcteth,
therefore despise not thous the chastening of the Almighty:
For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole."
- Job 5:17-18

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