Saturday, January 08, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Job 12:4

I, who called upon God and he answered me,
a just and blameless man, I am [now] a laughingstock.
Job 12:4
When Mary Louise and I were young parents, we were very, very proud! Our son, Paul, was literally the perfect child. He was happy, compliant, and perfectly behaved. He was also very bright, very intelligent. And we thought we were the perfect parents.
Then we had Jay.
As a little guy, Jay was stubborn and willful. He would fight us for every advantage. And he was so determined to get his way, he dismissed every form of correction and punishment, pushing on and on and on along his path instead.
And in a matter of moments, we went from very proud to very humbled.
That's the story of Job. When things were going well for Job -- an extraordinarily rich and blessed man -- he was surely dispensing wisdom left and right. And it was surely, "If you just follow God with all your heart, he will bless you." And the implication was surely, "If you're not getting all you hope for, you're probably not trusting well and thoroughly enough."
Job was completely "just" and thoroughly "blameless." He confidently "called upon God" and "[God] [consistently] answered [him]." Yes, Job proudly, confidently dispensed advice ... until he went from very proud to very humbled in a matter of moments.
Faith and character absolutely have an impact on the quality of our life ... but not in the way Job -- and most of us -- naturally think. Job -- and many of us, whether we admit it or not -- think of God as a genie in the bottle. We think he repays us good for good. That's NOT how faith and character help.
As Jesus said in Matthew 5:45, "rain [falls] on the righteous and unrighteous"; or in other words, challenges will come to us all. If our spoken or unspoken theology is that God repays us good for good, we will, like Job, become a laughing stock. If, however, we expect the trials and the rain, our faith and character will transform our perspective on these events. It may just become, "Life is hard, but God is good."
In the midst of this sinful, broken, temporary world, can you say that? If you can, faith, hope, and love will fill your days. If you can't, you'll spend a lot of time sitting in the dust ... just like Job does for much of this book.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who'd rather be wise enough 
to sit in an easy chair of faith and perspective 
than to roll in the dust of despair
Nope. Can't say it. After the retreat in September, I actually felt a peace and smiled when I heard, "God is good all the time. All the time, God is good."  Now I feel nauseous when I hear it.

And where does it say that sitting in faith and perspective is an easy chair?

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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