Monday, January 19, 2009

The Mystery of God's Love

As far back as I can remember I’ve been playing the piano. Music has always been part of my life. My childhood daily routine consisted of piano practice, school, musical theory, meals and sleep. My efforts were rewarded from time to time making this lifestyle worthwhile.

I remember one competition that had received much preparation. My performance was flawless. The audience applauded. First place was in my grasp. No other performance was without error. It was mine. As the judges stepped forward to present the certificates, I was handed 2nd place. First place was awarded to one who not only stumbled through the performance, but who forgot her memory and had to get her book. Life at times is unjust and unfair.

Welcome to Job’s world. You have just touched the outside realm of Job’s turf. Job, a book of misery and mystery. He was a model man. He had a resume of righteousness, yet his piety and prosperity didn’t protect him from pain. Life was unfair. Difficulties we can handle, but unfair seems too hard.

I think what touches me most in this story is that Job was just a man. He was no super-human. He was like you and I. “There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz” (Job 1:1). That could be the beginning of my story today or your story today. There was a woman named _____ who lived in the land of ______. Job’s story could be our story.

It is this reality that has caused alarm in me this morning. I have tried to make several attempts at writing today's post. Each path my thoughts go down travel roads lined with questions. Fear hides behind each bush. Uncertainty threatens to invite a retreat, but the road stretches on ahead.

We read there was a man, then, there was a day. A day like no other. A day when life crashed down so hard the living of it seems unimaginable. Job's life is the personification of misery. A misery that God allowed. Here is a good man, a godly man, a faithful husband, a loving father, then, seemingly senseless tragedy invaded his life. So underserving. No warning. No understanding. A strange cosmic agreement between God and Satan. There is just no comprehending.

Job got up one morning and his life changed forever. We too can have Job moments in our lives. A phone call. A Doctor's report. A knock on the door. No one is exempt from tragedy. On a broader scale we see 9/11, drive-by shootings, childhood abuse, the list is endless. All scream of life being unjust.

Suffering unaccompanied with understanding seems extra hard. If you are punished for doing wrong, although the consequences might bring pain, they are deserving. Job had done nothing wrong. Job was a man of integrity, yet God chose for him to endure unfathomable loss and pain.

Suffering. The storms come and we question where is God? Our lives are experiencing a personal terrorist attack. Missles are flying. Bombs of doubt are going off. Yet, when all quiets and the smoke clears we realize we are not alone. We are still here. Maybe fighting the fight of our lives, but God has not abandoned us to the grave.

At the end of Job's life he is remembered, not for his wealth, his health or his wisdom, but for his endurance. I struggle with my response to Job's life. I struggle with the anxiety of wondering if God would ask such a trial of me. I don't want it. Is it bad that I can't surrender and say with Paul, I want to know You in Your suffering? I think these next two weeks as I journey with Job are not going to be easy. Knowing how at any moment, if not for God's grace, Job's life could be mine. That possibility is holding a shadow over my head this morning. I know it is not God's intent. I pray for His peace. I don't want to live in the worry of potential hardship. I need God to so captivate my mind and fill me with Himself that fear isn't my response. I pray that I will be able to accept the mystery of God's love.



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4 comments:

Nicole said...

Joy,

I am praying that for you too this day!

Love,
Nicole

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

As you open your eyes, mind, and heart to the suffering of Job, hold on! Just wait until chapters 38-40. By the time you get there, you may hear God whispering to you, even as he did to Job:

"Who is this who darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?" (One of my favorite all time "questions" that God asks of man).

Who indeed, are we that he is mindful of us.

Grateful for the air I breathe this day and the influence I've been allowed to breathe it for him.

I think I'll read from Job tonight.

peace~elaine

lisasmith said...

I just read a piece and thought the title of yours encapsulated its essence "The mystery of God is his love"

love your post!! it's so moving. i am pondering Job and have bits and pieces but not cohesive thoughts yet but they are coming...love this!!

Luanne said...

I have struggle most of my life with living in "fear"--knowing God can do all things, and He can allow all things.

Psalm 112:7 was my first memory verse of the year--and my post that I wrote today talks about focusing on the "God can" rather than the doubts and lies of the deceiver.

Appreciate your comments on Wendy's blog!