So, yeh...um...I have pondered on posting this post. Glory to God is something of a high priority in my life but I have not mastered it at all. My struggles are embarrassingly numerous and some of them are even more embarrassingly shallow. Lately, I have felt quite alone and even in my faith, there has been a painful separated feeling. Nothing has been particularly awful or traumatic, it was just a slow buildup.
I have put it in my mind to remember Psalm 3:3: "But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." What more do I need? I wish I could say that my attitude revealed my trust in that Truth. Instead, I have found myself shedding tears, licking wounds, and harboring pain. (If you need a good cry but need a vehicle to camouflage it, try watching October Baby. No one will ask you any questions.)
So, after my eyes were dried out, I pondered on all the difficult situations in my life and as I did, God brought to mind Job so I read chapter 1 and the baseball bat of Truth hit me across the back of my head.
A lot of people seem to focus on one of two things. Either they focus on what they perceive to be a terrible thing that God allowed to happen or they look solely at the fact that God doubled Job's blessings in the end. It hit me that neither of those schools of thought should be the focus.
Job was a man and he had lots of wealth and stuff. He had a family that he loved and he loved them enough that he wanted them to be right before God. Satan steps in and God offers to him the ability to test Job and the reason is not immediately clear. In one day, Job loses his children and possessions. And though he is heartbroken, Job does not stop in proclaiming that God is in charge. Satan turns it up a notch and takes his health. Add to Job's pain and suffering, a nagging wife and discouraging friends and surely, any of us can see that this man was in a terrible place. Job feels the despair, cries out, does some whining, and defending. Job and his friends all make claims on knowing God and what He is like or what He is doing but in the end, God steps in and this is what should be the focus.
God says, "Hey, stop it! You think you know me, you think you have wisdom? Well, ponder this..." God allowed suffering in Job's life and the purpose of it was not to be cruel or even to be able to reward him. It was to reveal more of Himself to Job. He challenges Job's beliefs and pushes him to examine himself and by chapter 42, Job is confessing what he now knows without a doubt about God. Then God corrects Job's friends. All the trial and suffering brought men to Truth. I am just guessing here but I bet that these men lived out their lives as men of stronger faith. That was more than enough. It was mercy and love combined but the fact that God restored Job and doubled it was inexplicably gracious. God is that way.
In my alone-ness, God is working and not only is He working but He is drawing me to Himself. What really do I have that I deserve? Thankfully, nothing because it would be anything but good. My constant mutiny is deserving of punishment and yet, I have many blessings and at the same time I learning more of who God is in Truth. So, as my daughter reminded me one day this past week: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds..."
So, that's one joy, two joys, three... :)