Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Study of Job: Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

In the past year, we have lost our jobs, our home, one car, and most of all our sense of security (namely because that sense of security was misplaced in the things of this world).  I have, throughout this journey and time of loss, tried to keep my eyes fixed on the Lord and recognize that He is simply pruning the vine to reveal new and healthy growth.

But there have been times I have failed. Miserably.

I wanted my home back. I wanted a second car (not the infamous white mini-van, though...but that's another story). I wanted the sense of security (false as it was) that having a comfortable, steady, reliable income brought. There were times I was angry with God. There were times I felt He had abandoned me. I acted out like a child.

By the end of Chapter 1 in Job, this man, this "blameless and upright man" (Job 1:8b), had lost just about everything. His children, his livelihood, part of his home. And he was devastated. He "tore his robe, and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped" (Job 1:20).

What, what?!  He did what?!

He worshiped.

He worshiped his Heavenly Father. He worshiped the One Who Sees, El Roi. He worshiped his Lord Provider, Jehoveh Jireh.

Now many of us are familiar with the last part of this scripture "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21b).

But there is so much more to be had from these two simple verses.

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there." (Job 1:21a). This is a man who recognizes his true status in life. This is a man who understands who he really is and what defines him-and it is NOT his possessions. We live in a society that defines value by numbers-salary, credit score, square feet in your house, how many cars, weight, BMI. But God tells us, through Job's story, that these things mean absolutely nothing. We did not come into this world with anything and we cannot take anything with us when we are done with this world.

The familiar words following these (Job 1:21b) remind us where all that we have comes from. Again, we live in a society that prides itself on great gain and the ability to "make our dreams come true". The American Dream is a large, spacious home, several cars, at least a 6-figure salary, etc. and we can attain this if we just work hard enough.

 But that is an illusion. All of these things are nothing compared to God and none of these things are ours to enjoy save for His grace-including, as Job sadly found out, our children.  One of God's greatest gifts is barely a blip on society's radar anymore. Material possessions are far more prized than children and family....but I digress (stay tuned...you will probably see more about this in an upcoming post).

"Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God." (Job 1:22). The despair I felt at our losses over the past year was, in my book at least, epic. I have never felt so empty and afraid, lost and lonely. I zeroed in on the "and the Lord has taken away" part of these verses and totally disregarded the "the Lord gave" and "blessed be the name of the Lord" parts.

I was an angry little girl whose Daddy had taken away her toys. I was certain God was punishing me for something.  But wait...Job was "blameless and upright" and he had it far worse than me. Suddenly my entire understanding of who God is and how He relates to and loves me changed. That confused, hurt, angry teenage girl that was convinced we were all just God's puppets was starting to see that He wanted me-broken, hurting, outcast, me.

I was wanted. Job was wanted. You are wanted.

Sometimes to understand that concept, God has to strip every distracting thing away so that all that we have left is Him. And once we have Him, we will never want anything else.