Job – Job Speaks

Job’s friends take a lot of flack from critics, but I want to give credit where credit is due. They did sit in silence with him for 7 days. And even then, they didn’t jump the gun in conversation but waited until Job wanted to talk. What restraint!

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.

Remember before this time, Job had developed a lifestyle of being “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.” He also, “did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

But what he did do was regret he had ever been born, to experience such suffering. He wondered about the purpose of his life, so that he could find purpose in the suffering.

Poor Job, he didn’t have the full picture. He’s living in the here and now, just as we are. There is purpose in suffering, even if we cannot see it. There is something going on in the background we are totally unaware of. It could be that others are watching, learning what “blameless and upright” looks like. It could be our time has not come, not for us or others, and we linger, using the strength we do have to allow ourselves to be used as a “living sacrifice.” It could be there is drama in heaven between Satan and God of which we are unaware. 

But we can assume we do not have the full picture.

The fact was, as much as Job regretted it, he was born. He was blessed. Those blessings were taken away. God had something in mind Job could not comprehend.

I think of so many I know who are in a season of suffering. There are so many questions, and even the desire to have life completed through death. We want to understand what is un-understandable. But at some point, it will be fully known. 

One truth we can hold on to is that God gave us life, he will determine death, and it is our choice to give him everything between the two.

But let me just add…it’s still hard!

My Psalm – Psalm 71

Why, as an introvert, would I join Cru, one of the most evangelistic movements in the world?

In college, I was so shy, it was hard for me to buy things in stores. As soon as a clerk said, “May I help you?” I retorted, “No… just looking.” I may have known exactly what I wanted, but in that moment, I could not get the words out.

A year later, I was part of a movement that had us walking up to strangers, asking if they had “ever heard of the Four Spiritual Laws.” I did it, but I wasn’t ever comfortable.

After serving seven years (painful for me in my shyness), we left for 4 years in business. But then, the Lord called us again to serve, and I struggled. God created me, and I was shy. We were also no longer college students. Why would he call us back into this movement?

Enter Psalms 71.

I won’t go through it phrase by phrase but just highlight key verses.

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

I had come to know Christ young, memorized scriptures, and as long as I didn’t have to speak in public about my faith, I was comfortable with letting my faith go deep.

Do not cast me off in the time of old age;  forsake me not when my strength is spent.

I wouldn’t call 30 “old age” but we now had three children and certainly felt we had entered a new era of life. Life was so chaotic, sometimes I had to pick between bathing the kids or taking a shower myself! Cru felt like college students, and I wondered if I could keep up.

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wonderous deeds.  So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me,  until I proclaim your might to another generation,  your power to all those to come… You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.

Cru’s emphasis was leading the next generation to Christ. I was sitting, with babies on my knee, desiring them to know Christ, desiring others to know Christ. His promise to me, in the midst of my shyness, was to be with me, never forsake me, and comfort me.

That was enough. I signed up again. That was 40 years ago. Some people are surprised to hear how shy I was because I learned to take initiative, became convinced that if the Lord was telling me to say something, it was sin for me to hide it within myself. And God has been there to comfort me as Roger and I both increased in responsibility.

Sometimes God asks us to do things outside our comfort zone. But he has promised his presence to go with us. What more do we need than to trust him?