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Feb

I’m reading a great book called Beyond Suffering: Discovering the Message of Job by Layton Talbert.

In the preface he says,

“Here is the core of comfort in the message of Job: beyond suffering, past our pain and loss, is a God Who is not only all-knowing and omnipotent, sovereign and free to do as He chooses but also always good and just, loving and wise, purposeful and perfect in all that He chooses to do or to allow–and intimately aware of all its effects on us. In a word, God is always sovereign, God is always benevolent and ultimately God always rewards (both evil and good). But He is the center of all life, not we.” (xi-xii)

When I was a little girl, my behavior prompted my mom to remind me that I was not the center of the universe. A reminder like that seems unnecessary, even silly at first glance. Of course we’re not the center of the universe. What kind of delusional person would think that?

Yet, when I walk around thinking only of myself, what pleases me, and how the events of the universe relate to me, I am acting as though I think I’m the center, whether I give intellectual assent to that idea or not. Instead, I should be thinking about how I can align myself with the true Center (i.e., how can I obey God today?).

Feb

“But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. God understands its way, and He knows its place. And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.'”

Job 28:12-13, 23, 28

How often I around looking for complicated solutions to life, when God wants me to focus on the simple (though often difficult) things. Fear God. Avoid sin. How simple! Now if I could just do it.

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Jan

I often pray that God would give me a good day. By that, I usually mean a productive day, with nothing particularly unpleasant in it.

Perhaps there is nothing wrong with that prayer. However, after reading the beginning of Job today, I am motivated to pray differently.

In the first chapter of the book, God challenges Satan to consider His servant, Job. Satan suggests that Job’s faith is a result of God’s blessings. Take away the blessings, and the faith will evaporate.

The rest of the drama of Job, of course, shows Satan’s attacks, Job’s faith, and God’s goodness throughout.

As I read that first chapter, I was impressed with the need for faith at the crisis points in life. It is good to have faith in the times of blessing, but absolutely crucial during hard times.

What is our faith worth if it cannot sustain us in times of crisis? Christ died to save us from the ultimate crisis, separation from God. In doing so, He gave us victory over the crisis of death, as well. But what about daily crises?

I think we all recognize that we need to trust God during crises. When we find out that someone has cancer, or a house has burned down, or a baby was miscarried, we know that we should pray and trust God.

But what about the smaller, daily crises? When I become angry because I am stuck in a traffic jam, is Satan standing before God, accusing my faith?

God is good, and I can trust Him. If I can trust Him to provide my eternal redemption, shouldn’t I trust Him during the petty grievances of life?

I believe that our faith is tested every day, but we often do not notice it. We view car accidents, deaths, divorces, and natural disasters as faith-testers. But we don’t notice the daily quizzes caused by irritations like headaches, arguments, computer crashes, and mistakes on our bank statements.

Perhaps, rather than praying for a productive, smooth day, I should pray for the Holy Spirit to help me trust God through the crises of today.

Perhaps I should pray for wisdom to realize that annoyances aren’t just annoying. They’re faith testers. Perhaps I should pray for grace, so that I may live by faith.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

-Hebrews 12: 1-2 (ESV)

“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, ‘Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”

-Hebrews 10: 36-39 (ESV)