Friday, May 2, 2008

Can You Praise Him in This?

“You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” - Job 2:10

The story of Job is one dear to my heart. Here’s a man so worthy of God’s love and attention that God himself offers him as a test to His enemy, Satan. Job 1:8 quotes God as saying to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

First, God calls Job His servant. This indicates that Job was not only a man who was upright and obedient, but he was also busy doing God’s work.

Secondly, God found no other like him on the entire earth. He was blameless – having nothing wrong between him and God, nothing to confess and nothing to be forgiven.

Thirdly, he feared God, which means he respected God out of the love in his heart. He shunned or turned from evil because he wanted nothing more than to be the man God wanted him to be. He was focussed on God like an archer aimed at a target.

And what was God’s reward for this obedience? He allowed him to suffer. He turned him over to Satan and said only “do not lay a hand on his person” meaning he couldn’t kill Job, but he could do anything else his evil heart could dream up.

Satan got to work. In only one day, he sent an enemy army that killed all Job’s donkeys and oxen. To make it look like God was the one pulling the evil strings, he next sent fire from Heaven to burn his sheep and the servants with them. Before Job could digest what had just happened, he learned that another army of bandits had stolen all his camels and killed more servants. And as the final straw Satan would place on Job’s back, all his sons and daughters were killed in a mighty wind that blew down the house they were in.

Could you praise God in this?
Could you praise God when your job is gone?
Could you praise God when your car is stolen?
Could you praise God when your friends and coworkers are gone?
Can you praise Him when your children are killed?
Can you praise God when all the evil of Satan is unleashed on you?

Job did.

The fact that Job did praise God rings of his relationship of trust and obedience to God. Being able to praise God when you can’t see a way out of the storm is more important in your faith walk that being able to praise God when you’re on the mountaintop. It’s when you’re suffering that God is pruning you. It’s when you’re in pain that God is shaving off the rough edges. It’s when you can’t find the answers that God is telling you to trust in His understanding above your own.

Praising God is a practice that perfects your faith. It does so because as you praise Him you realize He is actively working in all things.

When you realize that God is at work all around you, and that He really does have it all under control, peace comes.

Peace comes when you realize that you need not work to make your situation better because God has it all under control.

God is at work.

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