Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blessed Be Your Name...

Everytime I've been pregnant, it has always amazed me at how different my outlook on life is once I realize that I'm expecting a new baby. I go from daydreaming about actually being pregnant to daydreaming about the life that was now growing inside of me. My obsession would continue to grow each day, making sure that what I ate and what I did, above all, benefited my baby's health. I have even found myself holding a one-sided conversation with the baby (who often would kick back a reply or two if I was lucky!) The child that was forming inside of me consumed my every thought during the day and my dreams at night. The fact was, I always felt like I'm on top of the world, the luckiest woman in the world, and I felt as though I had it all!

And what does Job have to do with any of this?

Job was devout and when it came to his knowledge of who God was, he didn't compromise in his belief. * Job 1:3 reads that Job was the greatest of the Qedemites, his wealth was measure in livestock, and the numbers indicate the ideal. Similar property lists in Genesis 24:35 describes the wealth of the patriarchs, suggesting that Job's way of life was much like theirs. Indeed, with his children and his wealth, Job must have felt like he was on top of the world - that he had it all.

Job 1:7 - God singled out Satan and said, "What have you been up to?" Satan answered God, "Going here and there, checking things out on earth."

Don't be mistaken, God didn't ask the question because He didn't know, this was more like "State your business." We know from 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." Satan's only purpose is to seek to destroy those who love God. While we live on this earth, we are within his reach so we should constantly be on guard, especially during this time when we experience the loss of our dreams. We wanted children. We risked our heart by loving the new lives that grew within me. And it's when you risk that much - when you risk your own heart - that's when you are most vulnerable to pain, and the attack of the enemy.

Before long we read that Job loses pretty much everything, including his children. Suffice it to say, his whole world caved in overnight. I think it's safe to say that everyone at one time or another has had a bad day. We all have. But let's be honest. The verses that describe Job's loss continuously read, "While he was still speaking..." Yes indeed, this was a very bad day - the events that Job experienced in that one single day are something that maybe we've experienced in the course of at least a week if not a month or two.

Job had lost what was near and dear to him, but most of all, his children. To us as parents, the loss of our child is indeed equal to losing all that is important to us, and there is no greater loss. I think we'd all like to believe that we have a great faith in God. That no matter what comes our way, we can stand strong in our relationship with Christ and our God. But can we really? How do you respond when you get slammed in life? How did I respond with the loss of our children? How did Job respond?

Job 1:20-22 - Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped: Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I'll return to the womb of the earth. God gives, God takes. God's name be ever blessed. Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God.

He grieved. I grieved. As it turns out, 6 years later - I'm still grieving. It is okay to cry!! Showing our emotion is not a sign that we have lost our faith, but only that we are human as God created us to be. But there is more to Job's response than just mourning - he fell to the ground and worshiped! Could you just imagine the look on Satan's face as he watched Job fall to the ground before God. I can picture him sitting there with his mouth wide open in utter disbelief while Job was saying, "The one who gave me life and has put everything on loan to me during my lifetime has chosen (and has every right) to take everything away. I won't take anything with me anyway. Blessed be His name for loaning it to me while I had it. And blessed be His name for choosing to remove it."

Our children are a gift, and the appropriate response to a gift is gratitude. Job, even though he has just lost everything, thanks God for the gifts he had been given. I had to ask myself if I was willing to thank God for the gift He had given me and had now taken away. Could I loosen my grip on my children enough to feel the freedom of entrusting everything to His care, and welcome God to have his way with those I love?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

The same God who gave Job all his possessions also had taken them away. Just as the same God who gave me the gift of that life inside of me, had chosen for whatever reason to bring that life back to Himself. I couldn't let the knowledge of this pull me away from God, but instead draw nearer to Him. I love my God for who He is, not just for what He gives.

On this day, 6 years later, I thank God for that short time He blessed me with a beautiful gift.

*Charles Swindoll. Job: A Man of Heroic Endurance
Nancy Guthrie. Holding On To Hope

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