A common theme on kingdomtravelin is our response to struggle. The last two days we’ve glanced at Job. His initial responses were good, then his friends arrive and they sit and look at each other for 7 days and then in chapter 3 Job laments his birth in poetic complaint.
I choose to look away from Job this morning and answer the question posed above.
How can I rejoice in struggle? In anxiety?
Here is the only answer I know:
- “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides (emphasis mine) in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 ESV) http://bible.com/59/jhn.15.5.esv
The good news is thus: I can’t, so I must turn to Him who can.
In Him I can rejoice.
Aim at Heaven y’all.
He is with us, the Son has risen, and the sun will rise tomorrow.
In our suffering, how shall we react? This is a pressing question that our answer will guide many of our attitudes. Job’s wife urged him to “curse God and die.” Many of us are tempted to think in such a way. But God has given us Job as a different way…
“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:10b ESV) http://bible.com/59/job.2.10.esv
So which attitude shall you choose when suffering arises?
At the end of chapter one of Job, after incredible devastation had engulfed his family, the chapter ends with these word…
“In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:22 ESV)
My immediate prayer should be to ask the Lord for such a heart.
My morning walk along the beach reminds me of the power of my loving Heavenly Father as the surf crashes on the beach. It makes me agree with the psalmist and exclaim!
“Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.” Psalms 21:13 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.21.13.esv
Wherever we may be, in whatever circumstance, may we offer praise to God!
In the twelfth Psalm we read about words.
The psalmist feels surrounded by the faithless. He laments the conditions surrounding him.
Then, nearing the end of this complaint, he states:
“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.” Psalms 12:6-7 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.12.6-7.esv
No matter the circumstances that surround us… grief, opposition, betrayal, we may always turn to God in His Word.
We may run to the Father with a language of prayer. A vernacular that we learn to speak as we read and hear the vibrant, acitive wonderful Word of God!
Then, with our faith renewed by God, we face the challenges of the day, whatever they may be.
“In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;” Psalms 11:1-2 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.11.1-2.esv
In the Lord we find the perfect protection when the inevitable struggles come our way. We live in a broken world in which battle is to be expected. In the Psalm, the arrow shoots into the dark, seeks to bring harm to those seeking God. Perhaps this was on Paul’s mind when he wrote:
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;” Ephesians 6:16 ESV http://bible.com/59/eph.6.16.esv
Take up is our responsibility. Let us not go into the fray without our shield!
Run to the Father, take up the shield of faith, in all circumstances.