Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Friendships~ Lessons from Job

As I have been in Job for about a month I am in the middle of the conversation between Job and his friends.  As I mentioned in the previous post, they heard about Job's trouble then came to comfort him.  They couldn't recognize him when they arrived because his body was so badly covered in boils.  But they cared enough to stay and sat with him in silence for 7 days.

7 days sounds like a really long time to just sit. I can't wrap my mind around them actually sitting in silence and not getting up for anything.  Which gives me the impression that they really cared about Job.  They really wanted to be there for him in his time of trouble.  If I think of the mourning process, which I would equate Job's situation to, I would want friends there who would not try to make me feel any certain way or give me any answers or ask any questions.  They seem to be dedicated friends.

Chapter 4 begins and we see his friends begin to talk... maybe question. "Hey Job, is everything ok between you and God?" or "Job, have you considered the idea of having done something that God may see the need to discipline you or test you?" It goes back and forth, on and on. Job defending and at some points honestly sounds quite self righteous.  But he is sure he did nothing that should deserve such punishment or disapproval from God. His statements actually cause his friends to get more and more bold. Calling him out in what his offense was before a Mighty God, Creator of the universe.  No one can be perfect, trying to help Job see this so that he would repent and God would restore him.

It actually makes sense to me.  If I put myself in the same situation as any one of Job's three friends, I would be thinking the exact thing they are thinking.  I have done it.  There are few that I have done this to. Reminded them of the character of God and the fallenness of man. It sounds a lot like holding a person accountable or standing up for truth. I am puzzled why this questioning is seen in a negative light.  I *think* I would want friends to do the same for me... actually, it has happened to me and great freedom came from it.

Maybe it is because it just isn't tactful to question someone so deeply when they have lost so much so quickly.  But after sitting silent for 7 days I would think that caused Job to realize that they deeply cared.  Mourning isn't a quick process, so I feel the depth of Job's questioning God also. 

I'm thinking on grace and when to know the right thing to say.  Or when the right thing to say is at the wrong time.  The right thing said at the wrong time can be wrong.

I already know that at the end God will rebuke these three friends, but I am looking forward to possibly seeing why they were wrong on calling him out, to evaluate himself.  To search his own heart and see if there is any wicked way in him.

My biggest question that remains unanswered is why is it wrong for Jobs friends to question him?
A lack of grace?
Unkind and hurtful because it is so close to the loss?
Or is questioning Job's character truly the problem with his friends?
I hope to find the answer to that as I finish up the second half of the book.

But for now, these

ideas cause me to evaluate the kind of friend I am.  Do I deeply love and fight for those I say that I love.  Do I seek to keep the peace in all relationships.  I want to be a sister-friend who women can feel safe with and run to when they need someone to hold up their arms in battle or sit in silence in a time of mourning.  My prayer is that Jesus would put these qualities in me.

That I would love like He loves.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

All for His glory... according to Job

In my journey to write the Bible I am only a few chapters in. I'm using a guide in chronological order so I'm only in Job. It feels like it is going to take me forever.

My mind is being blown right now with the things I didn't notice in Job before. 

As we know, the fallen angels and Satan go before God. I've always thought that Satan asked to test Job but actually God offered him up. God asked Satan if he had noticed Job and pointed out how blameless he is. Satan scoffs and assures God that Job is only faithful because of the many ways that God has blessed him. So they agree that Satan can do anything except touch his body in an attempt to prove God wrong, so Satan thinks. 

Satan takes everything away and yet Job does not curse God, as his wife encourages him to do. Satan goes back to God and God again, offers Job for more trials which would include his health. Just not unto death. 

Job still does not curse God but sits in silence. His friends hear about his trouble and come to sit with him. They couldn't even recognize him because of the sores that covered his body. They all sat silently for 7 days. That is the kind of friend I hope for, and the friend I hope to be. (More on this in the next post). 

This whole part of God offering Job up has really made me struggle. So I have been meditating on it for quite a while. 

Some of my initial thoughts are "why?" Job was obedient. He was godly. He was faithful. He offered up daily sacrifices "just incase" his children sinned. He feared God. The scriptures make that pretty clear. 

I admit that when I have gone though some struggles I have had those same questions for God. I've begged for answers, telling God that my desire is to please Him! All we want is His glory! Why do we always need to deal with hard things? We are trying!!! 

The last major time was when our 5 week old sweet G was hospitalized with RSV and ended up have to be intubated to save his life. All we wanted to do was obey and believe that children are a gift. So many people just have a baby with no problems. Not us. Four hard HG pregnancies, a baby lost to HG, 4 more hard morning sickness pregnancies, 7 c -sections. I just didn't understand why one thing about it could not be easy! 

While G was in the hospital I had so much time. To think, to pray and to be in His word. Peace is the word that the Lord kept speaking to me, right out of the story of Gideon in Judges chapters 6-8. The Lord is peace. It was the beginning of my deeper understanding of this. 

God chose Gideon, the least of his tribe, to fight with what seemed unbelievable odds, to tear down the idols in the land and bring glory to God.  

Ok, so that takes me back to questioning. In Jobs life God allowed testing and lots of wrestling, which produced faith. With Gideon, there was a testing and wrestling which also produced faith. In both situations God receives all the glory. 

I think it was during this time that I heard someone say "God will do what brings Him the most glory." When you are in a life or death situation that isn't really comforting. I didn't want God to get the most glory from my sons death. 

Another person I have thought of during all of this is the blind man in John chapter 9. They asked Jesus if his parents had sinned to cause the mans blindness. Jesus said that he was blind so that the works of God might be displayed through him. This man did nothing to deserve this. But God chose to use him with the goal of bringing glory to His own name. 

The sovereignty of God is revealed through these people. God knew the heart of Job. God knew that he would be found faithful. God knew that while he may wrestle that Job would never turn his back on God or let go of God. 

Honestly, I am still seeing the pieces of these stories come together to help me get glimpses of the character of God. 

He is sovereign. 

God will do what will bring Himself the most glory. 

Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. 
Job 13:15