Monday, October 26, 2009

Longing for Normalcy

(Quick note so hopefully there is no misunderstanding: What I mean by "normalcy" is the average for my life without the additional (overwhelming) stress that is brought about specifically from the tribulation God has allowed/ordained for my life. Everyone's "normal" (of course) is different.)

Some days I cannot help but wonder how my life would be without the heartbreaking tribulation I currently face. Everyone faces trials (whether it is physical illness, a sick child, strife, persecution, abuse, depression, alcoholism, drugs, sexual temptation, death, financial hardship, loss, etc.). I know this and I most certainly do not feel myself above suffering, saddness, and/or reproof from the Lord. I am a wretched, ugly sinner. And only Christ was blameless and did not deserve pain and the Father's wrath (which He endured for me). So I have to preach to myself that though for this season I feel the bitter sting of adversity it is for my sovereign King's glory and my good!

I find myself in good company with Job (but sinning just the same). Job and I both made a MASSIVE error when struck by distress. I uttered four terrible words (even as recently as three or four weeks ago). They were, "God is against me." And when I look to the book of Job I find God had quite the rebuke for Job...and for me as well! I see my reflection in Job 7: "My Life Has No Hope", Jobe 10: "A Plea to God", "Job 12: "The Lord Has Done This", Job 13: "Still I Will Hope in God", Job 17: "Where Then is My Hope?", Job 19: "My Redeemer Lives", Job 23 & 24: "Where is God?", Job 26: "God's Majesty is Unsearchable", Job 27: "I Will Maintain My Integrity", Job 28: "Where is Wisdom?", Job 29 & 30: "Job's Summary Defense", and Job 31: "Job's Final Appeal".

Elihu scolds Job (and me) saying,
"Do you say, 'It is my right before God,'" (Job 35:2. ESV.) Elihu...burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. (Job 32:2. ESV.)

And, the Lord answers Job (and me) in Job 38-41 (which is too long to post here in its entirety so I'll only post my favorite points:

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

"Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
9when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
11and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed'?

"Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
13that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14It is changed like clay under the seal,
and its features stand out like a garment.
15From the wicked their light is withheld,
and their uplifted arm is broken.

16"Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.

19"Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
and where is the place of darkness,
20that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?
21You know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!

34"Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
that a flood of waters may cover you?
35Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
and say to you, 'Here we are'?
36Who has put wisdom in the inward parts
or given understanding to the mind?
37Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
38when the dust runs into a mass
and the clods stick fast together?

39:19"Do you give the horse his might?
Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
20Do you make him leap like the locust?
His majestic(snorting is terrifying.
21He paws in the valley and exults in his strength;
he goes out to meet the weapons.
22He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
he does not turn back from the sword.
23Upon him rattle the quiver,
the flashing spear, and the javelin.
24With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground;
he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
25When the trumpet sounds, he says 'Aha!'
He smells the battle from afar,
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

40:1 And the LORD said to Job:
2"Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
He who argues with God, let him answer it."(Job 38:4-21, 34-38, 39:19-25, & 40:1-2. ESV.)

I echo Job in saying,
3Then Job answered the LORD and said:
4"Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
5I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
twice, but I will proceed no further."

42:1Then Job answered the LORD and said:
2"I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4'Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.'
5I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 40:3-5 and 42:1-6. ESV.)

And I am hopeful my story will end like that of Job!!!

10And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before…. 12And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.
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