Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

A Gift From God?

While eating dinner with some fellow seminary students earlier tonight, I posed the question, “how does a person like me, who questions the sovereignty of God when I stub my toe, come to have faith like Job’s?”

I was being somewhat facetious about calling God to ‘splain Himself when I stub my toe.  However, when the hard times come-a-knockin’ in my life, I tend to lean more toward the faith of Job’s wife than that of Job.  Although I do not wish to “curse God and die,” as Job’s wife recommends, I am closer to that extreme than to its spectrum opposite that we see in Job.

The example of Job’s faith that I had in mind is this.  Job was a man of great possessions.  He had much livestock, and 10 children.  Then one day a messenger told him that all of his oxen and donkeys were stolen, and all Job’s servants save the messenger were slain.  While that messenger was still speaking, a second messenger arrived, with the message that a fire had consumed all of Job’s sheep and servants- the messenger alone survived the flames.

While the second messenger was still speaking, a third arrived.  I suspect that the third messenger made Job forget about the first two.  The news that he brought was that a wind had brought down the house of one of Job’s sons, killing all ten of Job’s children.

There is much to be thought about and discussed in this story, as well as the rest of the book of Job.  But, for the time being, I just want to focus on Job’s reaction to this news: 

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” -Job 1:20-21

We don’t know much about Job, other than that he was, “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1).  However, I think that his reaction to such devistating news tells us something about him.  I suspect that a person does not reach the point of rejoicing in spite of such tragedy without rejoicing as a result of smaller tragedies.  To use the life of King David as an example, I presume that God brought along a few lions and bears to prepare Job for the Goliath that we read about in the book of Job.  So, although I was joking about questioning God when I stub my toe, I think it safe to say that Job was a man who rejoiced in less significant sufferings such as minor physical pain.

Anyway, after posing this question at dinner, I proceeded to play basketball.  Whereupon I sprained my ankle.  I sprained my left ankle.  Here is a picture of my right ankle after I sprained it about a year-and-a-half ago.  I expect my left one to look like this pretty soon!

So, I am trying to take some baby steps toward Job-like faith (not unlike the baby steps/hobbling across campus earlier).  Might it be that the living God is giving me an opportunity to rejoice in the midst of minor suffering, in order to produce endurance and Christian joy that I will need in greater suffering later?

This is definitely a “be careful what you wish for situation,” for the desire for Job-like faith could be met with Job-like suffering.  But if God would grant me such faith, and if He would sustain me and carry me through- for I assure you I cannot persevere in faith through a stubbed toe or sprained ankle without the grace of God- and if God would be glorified in my faith in the midst of suffering, then come what may, Lord Jesus.

You are my King.  And although I do not desire the cups of Jeremiah (singleness), Hosea (unfaithful wife), Ezekiel (loss of wife), or Job (loss of children) for my own sake, if drinking any of those cups glorifies Your name, I ask not my will, but Yours.  Only, if I must kiss the rod, may I respond the way Job did, and may your name be praised!

“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” -Job 2:10

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” -Job 19:25


August 28, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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