Avenues of Grace

Seeking the Lord with Eyes Wide Open

Archive for the category “Thursday Poetry”

The Truth About Suffering: Job 1-2

You can view today’s reading HERE.

Job. OSufferinghhhhh Job. The man believers jokingly refer to when it comes to patience and the book that every “prosperity” preacher forgets to mention.  It sounds amazing for us to hear that, if we will just trust in Jesus, everything in life will just magically work out. The truth is that it does: we get to know God personally, and we get to live forever with Him in Heaven.  But that doesn’t mean that everything on earth works out perfectly, and no matter how many times we want to “name it and claim it,” at the end of the day, our words are in vain if they are outside of the will of the sovereign God.

First off, I want to be clear. Suffering is UNIVERSAL. We live in a fallen world, and believers are not excluded from suffering. In the past twenty-four hours, I’ve had friends/family call to ask me to pray for them because they are facing job loss, death, possible cancer, and various surgeries…and that’s just one day!

So how do I reply to all these prayer requests? Do I give them the traditional Southern Christian LIE that “God never gives you more than you can handle?”  Absolutely not. In fact, I cringe EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I hear someone say that.  In my opinion, it’s the biggest lie in the Christian faith.  The truth is that God often gives us more than we can handle because only in those moments do we truly understand what it means to walk in faith and fully trust HIM. The better reply would be that there is nothing that God can’t handle, and He often uses our suffering to grow our faith and draw us to Himself.

When I think about what Job faced– the loss of his family, his wealth, and his own health– I am reminded that drawing close to the Lord is the most important thing we can possibly do in this life.  All these earthly blessings truly are only temporary. At any moment, any one of us could face tragedy.  Everything that Job poured into was gone within one day’s time. That’s humbling.

We spend so much of our lives working furiously–even worrying furiously– over things that could pass away in the blink of an eye.  The truth is that every good thing that we have comes from the Lord.  He does NOT owe us anything.  I realize that’s a hard statement to swallow, but it is the truth.  When we come to the point that we can recognize that EVERY good thing is a GIFT from God, we begin to live with gratitude, just as Job did when he tore his robe and cried out,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job 1:21

Father, forgive me for turning your blessings into idols. Teach me to love you with humility and an open heart, truly seeing you as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Teach me to trust in Your goodness, even when I don’t understand Your will, and help me to focus my life and thoughts around things of eternal value. Thank you, Father, that you are mighty and loving and the One True God. I love You.

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