Thursday, March 12, 2015

April Showers Bring...Umbrellas

April showers - need an umbrella?

Poor Job.  He had it all, wealth, family, health, and then in one giant storm his family and wealth was gone.  Adding to his misery, his health was taken later.  He did have his wife and friends left, but even they did not give him sound advice or support.   The magnitude of his suffering is something most of us will never experience, yet his response was (paraphrased) – I came into this world naked (with nothing) and I will leave this world the same way. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

1)   Realizing we actually own absolutely nothing is eye opening.  The silver spoon story is temporary and misleading.  Silver can be lost and is only worthwhile on earth.  (Note; we will only spend a short time on earth.)

2)   It all belongs to the Creator.  He gives and takes.  He has every right to everything because it all is His.

3)  He deserves our praise in every circumstance.  No matter if it is pleasant or unpleasant. 

Some time ago, I had a series of life events that seemed overwhelming.  I had an emotional meltdown and proceeded to have a little talk with God.  I informed Him of all these things piled up in my life, listing them one by one (as if He didn’t know).  Big old tears of pain flowed as I whined to Him of my intense suffering.  In the midst of my pity party I actually had the nerve to tell Him I felt like Job.  That’s where the party ended.  It was as if He took my head in His hands, and turned my face toward His.  The words He spoke to me that moment were short and simple; “Then act like it”. 

Back in the land of reality, I too blessed the name of the Lord.  Why?
 1)   I remembered the end of Job’s story.  The time of suffering was replaced with blessings direct from the hand of our compassionate and merciful God.  He went from being childless to seven sons and three daughters (the exact number that preceded the devastation).  His wealth doubled. He lived another 140 years after all this. God is good and the giver of all good gifts.

2)   I also remembered that Job’s story is an inspiration to all these generations that followed him.  We all learn from watching others, especially someone who has gone through a similar situation.  My endurance could minister to the heart of someone else in the future. God was preparing me for something good. 

3)  I remembered that God didn’t leave Job, but was quiet for a while, allowing Job to endure the situation.  God was teaching me endurance.

4)   I remembered that even Jesus endured suffering.  Immense suffering.  He could have disappeared from the face of the earth.  He could have called angels to protect Him.  Instead, He walked through it and promised us the same suffering if we follow Him.  The world hated Him, and hates us.  He understands.

5)  Most of all, I remembered that God allows suffering for our good.  He uses it to build our faith and draw us nearer to Him.  We are to give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God concerning me (and you).  He is in control

Did you notice that my pity party turned into a praise party?

So, how did the story of Job end?  Did God “fix” the bad that happened to Job?  No.  Job had to endure it, and that very endurance – through the suffering – is what grows our faith.  It is transliterated from the Greek “hupomeno” which is used to express the idea of patience, endurance and abiding under.  When Job experienced a storm, he had a place to abide (stay), a shelter to get through the storm. That’s why Job could bless the name of the Lord while the storm was going on all around him.  He knew his umbrella was trustworthy, all he had to do was abide under it. 
Most gracious and merciful God, we thank You for everything you have placed into our lives.  We thank you for both the good and the adversity because we trust You to work all of it together for our good, to draw us ever nearer to You.  Help us to remember to abide in You, praise You in everything, and to share our magnificent umbrella.

Let’s face it, life is full of storms.  Keep your umbrella handy.  You are going to need it. 

“You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful”. James 5:11

I will praise You in this storm
Casting Crowns

Til the Storm Passes By, Gaither Vocal Band

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