I read God’s Word and live my life and find questions rising up in me, always pointing out to me where my faith is weak and the many areas where I find myself “leaning to my own understanding.”
Several years ago, when I was studying some old testament scriptures, I came across the first chapter in Job. Upon learning he had lost not only his fortune, but also his children; much that was very dear to his heart, his response to learning these things reveals, unequivocally, what lay at his depths; what mattered the absolute most to him. Find with me here what Job said and what Job did:
“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:20-22)
Can you imagine? In the rawness of his loss, in the seconds and minutes that followed the shocking revelation revealing what most would consider all as lost, Job’s response shows us he had something left that could never be taken away from him. Not even death would separate him from what lay at the core of his soul; his unwavering faith in a just and righteous, sovereign God.
I was stunned, those years ago, as a mother, I sat staring at the words penned concerning Job’s response to loss so severe most of us would be crippled forever. Yet Job “fell down upon the ground, and worshipped.” His heart belonged wholly to God. He returned to his first love upon learning that all else had been stripped away.
I find in these moments of deepest hurt, our true heart is revealed. Where do we turn first in our anguish? What is revealed in our actions and in our words?
I often turn to others or find myself uttering complaints, yet this story of Job reveals where the heart of God’s servants are supposed to remain, fully stayed in loving reverence and worship.
I can’t help but notice how many times in scripture God reminds us through the prophets that He created us, He formed us in the womb, He made all that was made. Job remembered that God had indeed formed him in his mother’s womb, equipped him with all bodily and then “gave” unto him all else that he had, and it was all God’s to do with as He purposed.
Wow…What a message to all of us. I have, so many times, felt as if things in my own life were spinning out of control and have become overwhelmed, confused, angry, and hurt, when I could instead do as Job did and remember that God has authority and sovereignty over all.
In one of my darkest times, I remember God speaking to my heart and reminding me that the circumstances I was enduring was about something far different from what I had been seeing. It was about souls; not about my feelings. That truth took me to my knees in prayer for those souls He was calling to in great mercy. It completely changed my perspective and my actions. Instead of only carrying my hurt, I began to pray for others and put my trust in God who had a good plan, an eternal purpose for all circumstances. If only I could do that without faltering, without slipping back into focusing on myself and my feelings! How much greater would my faith be? If only I would live in the steadfast and unwavering manner in which Job lived…
May we all purpose in our hearts to worship and remain faithful in times of struggle as well as times of joy. God was on His throne granting mercy and giving grace long before He ever formed me in my mother’s womb, and He will continue to be sovereign God once my life, as a flower of the field, fades away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.