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Through It All

Leslie Shoots - January 08, 2015

faith, hope, perseverance, sorrow, suffering

Have you ever chosen not to do something for God because you knew it would put a target on your back, inviting Satan to retaliate and wreak havoc in your life?

Job didn't know that his life was being recorded or that his suffering, sorrow & sadness would make the pages of Holy Script. He couldn't see all that. There was no way for him to get the big picture as he sat in confusion & ashes.

What if that's what your life was about today, that your story of faithful- or faithlessness was being recorded for a galactic audience? Think you'd live any differently?

Unlike the Almighty, our sights are limited on the here and now, moment by moment. What we often forget is that there's still a great big story being recorded: His-story. In our present struggles we can easily lose sight of the fact that there's a much bigger battle going on... between demons & angels, good & evil, Satan and the Father, all taking place in the unseen world we know so little about.

What if every time we were in a fix, we praised the Lord instead of complaining, griping or gossiping? Can you imagine the difference our lives might make if we joined Job in concluding by faith:

"Though He slay me, still I will trust Him." -Job 13.15

God looks on as we put our faith in Him rather than in our circumstances. I can just imagine Satan being bound, with his head lowered & a sock stuffed in his mouth. What a sight! Every time we choose to trust the Lord, to praise the Lord, or to thank the Lord, the Lord gets the glory! And "some glad morning when this life is over", we'll enjoy for all eternity the rest of His story.

That's your plan, isn't it Lord?

But... do we see all of that now? Hmm. That's your plan, isn't it Lord? ...for us to walk with You, to trust You, and to praise You, even when our faith ebbs & flows like our brother Job's.

But through it all, and I say it again, through it all, He's teaching us to trust in Jesus. We're learning to trust God and His goodness. And when you and I walk accordingly--though not perfectly, at least not yet--imagine the 100 gazillion angels and demons looking on ...and the Father observing, and the Son interceding, and the Holy Spirit working! Somehow we've got to get it into our heads that it's not all about our little lives. This life is short, really, really short. But real Life is eternal.

And speaking for myself, this is where I often conflict with God. I get wrapped up and completely concerned with my present comfort while God's priority is eternal glory. God is saying to me, "Les, I want to reward you richly." -Okay Lord, I'll take that!- "I want to reward you eternally." -Sure thing God, I'm good with that, too!- "Then here's what you're going to do. You're going to go through a tough situation for 58 years." -What?!- "And you're not going to remember this conversation because I'm going to erase it from your memory." -What?!- "You're just going to wonder why prayers aren't being answered, what you're doing wrong, why it seems to work out for others, but not for you. Yes, you'll have your moments of discouragement like Job, and you'll even doubt like Job. But through it all, and I repeat, through it all, you'll say, 'I trust you, Lord,' and great will be your reward in heaven. In fact, I will be your reward... forever!"

So far in our Sustain reading through the ninth chapter of Job, it's clear that he's confused. He's in pain and nothing is making sense. But through it all, he hangs in there. Through it all, God keeps him. All this just to say--as I rephrase my opening question: Do you love the Lord? Do you love God passionately? Isn't that what it's all about? Loving God passionately and loving each other unconditionally? ...even if He turns your world upside down?

Father, help us. Keep us from speaking wrongly to or for You, convinced we understand more than we do, the causes, the reasons, the whys, the why-nots, all the particulars that happen to certain people. Help us, Lord, to follow our Master and be intercessors. And if a brother stumbles, show us how to restore him in a spirit of humility & love. If a brother is down, sit us down beside him for however long You see fit. Show us how to lift him up. Give us Your heart to stretch out our hand, Your heart of compassion for the oppressed and the needy, for each other in Your family of faith. In Jesus' name.