“Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me.” The Lord makes it clear, there are times we need to man-up. We are not as important as we think we are, and at the same time, we are loved much greater than our knowledge and insight can allow for.
Yes, us gals and ladies, this holds true for us as well. “Man” is mankind, us humans, not only the male gender.
The Book of Job never ceases to amaze me. God is awesome how He delivers different lessons by reading the same scripture over an over through the years.
This year as I read the book of Job again, I had more smiles than sadness and more hope than ever. Today I continued my reading and focused on only part of the story; Job 38-40
Just like Job, we all get caught up from time to time in our immediate circumstances. In those times, what we see and feel in the immediate of our lives is far from all that God has to offer and is doing. There is SO much going on behind the scenes that even our imagination cannot tap into the depth and breadth of it all.
God is so awesome. He is the one who chose Job because he was righteous. God allowed the devil to create devastation in Job’s life (and his wife’s). There was
Words cannot begin to describe what humans cannot understand. We certainly make our attempts though. It is through these words of us mortal specks of dust that we can share and gain, even when the words are not perfect and the understanding limited. We still share the common experience of being human on planet Earth.
So what does God have to say about it all? Job is supposedly the righteous one in the group,
The Lord says, basically, Man-Up Job!!! And He said it twice; once in chapter 38 and again in 40.
His exact words were, “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me.”
The questions the Lord asks take Job (and us) far beyond our little lives and our current circumstances. Our minds can quickly leave the sickbed of chronic illness and get lost in the wonderment and expanse of some of God’s creation.
I love this. The Lord asks Job questions, many of them…
- Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?
- Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
- Who marked off its dimensions?
- Who stretched a measuring line across it?
- On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone?
- Who shut up the sea behind doors?
- Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?
- Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?
- Have the gates of death been shown to you?
- Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
- Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
- What is the way to the abode of light?
- Where does darkness reside?
- Can you take them to their places?
- Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
- Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?
- What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
- Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm?
- Does the rain have a father?
- Who fathers the drops of dew?
- From whose womb comes the ice?
- Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
- Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
- Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
- Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
- Do you know the laws of the heavens?
- Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?
- Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water?
- Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
- Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
- Who gives the ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding?
- Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
- Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens?
- Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions?
- Who provides food for the raven when
itsyoung cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?
That was only an abbreviated version of what the Lord asked Job in ONLY chapter 38. It goes on in 39. Listening is more important than speaking sometimes, well, usually always!!!!!
Whew, who really has any words to answer any of those questions God bothered to speak to a mere mortal, made of dust. None of us fully can even answer one, except to say, YOU Lord, YOU Maker of ALL the Earth and Heavens, YOU alone.
In chapter 40 the Lord asks Job, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!”
Time to man-up, or woman-up, or even child-up.
Chronic illness is just one example of things that seem to “go wrong” in our lives.
In all honesty, don’t we accuse by some of our questions and thoughts, just like Job?
- Why me?
- What did I do that was so bad to deserve this?
- Is sin the only consequence from which illness is rooted?
- Why is it taking so long for healing?
- What exactly is Your definition of healing and can it be very different for everyone?
- Why don’t
Youjust take me now, Lord?
- How come one of Your children can heal one way but it does not work for another?
- How long do I have to suffer?
- Is this what persecution feels like?
- Why did you allow this Lord?
- How many lessons are there for me to learn from the chronic illness experience?
- How did I lose control of my own body?
- How can I gain control of my own body?
- Why did I not see before illness, how complex and fragile and durable you made our unique bodies?
- What child deserves to suffer through
chronicillness like this?
- How does this depth of abandonment take place during illness, yet YOU, Lord, continue to stay and comfort?
- How do
Youwant me to view my body as a Temple for the Holy Spirit?
- What is your path for me during this time of illness?
- Who do you want me to shine your light on during my time of illness?
Who are we to know all the answers of chronic illness or all the “why’s” behind it??
We are nobody. Yet, we are the precious children of God. Loved so much that He cares for the details of everything. We are given so much through our time of need, whether we see it or not.
God gives us His patience, love
What Do We DESERVE?
It is our perception, not our assumptions, that matter more. Who invented the thought that we supposedly DESERVE something or another??? Some of the assumptions that we DESERVE during illness…
- deserve not to be ill
- deserve shorter illness
- deserve less difficult illness
- deserve more attention from others
- deserve less conflict from others
- deserve more care
- deserve more resources to deal with chronic illness
- …you get the idea
We do not “deserve” anything.
The assumption of deserving anything seems a bit ridiculous when we read the Lord’s words to Job. Even Job, who was by far more righteous than I (and maybe you), did not “deserve” to be immune from the troubles of this earthly experience called LIFE.
We do not “deserve” to be immune from the spiritual warfare that goes on. Job was an extreme example of such, but so are the lives of many.
In human terms — Did Job “deserve” what he got, NO!!
In God’s terms — Did Job grow closer to God and allow his character to blossom from the experience, YES!!!
Time to Man-Up
Experiences, like chronic illness, are perfect opportunities to man-up.
It is time to take responsibility for our health and well-being and do some more of the hard work that it requires. And doing it without a bad attitude!!!
God gave us brains to use. Using our brains during illness is a blessing, not a curse. Instead of dumbing down, man-up!!
It is time to learn how to truly rest, when appropriate. Whew, that has been some of the hardest work for me. God gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us
It is time to ask questions that may, or may not, be answered by God during our lifetime. The act of asking questions can get our noses and hearts in the Bible daily. It can reveal that we truly answer to God, not the other way around.
It is time to practice practice practice our faith, even during the tough times of chronic illness.
It is time to man-up and accept that we have two feet, two hands, and free-will so that we have some of our own resources to meet our own needs (that God gave us). Hard work is part of this life experience of being transformed into Christ’s likeness.
In our lifetime, we will not be perfect, but the times of great difficulty can provide a perfect opportunity for transformations as we get closer and closer to it.
We can choose to sing praises to God, even when we do not understand our circumstances.
Book of Job
Job 38-40 was a delight for me today. In the past, in a way, I have read it like a cinderella story with a happy ending — God is good, it all works out in the end.
Well, what about the middle parts called LIVING OUT LIFE? Job 38-40 seems to be the middle stuff.
There are a lot of middle parts during our life, many of which are the tough stuff. Growing in our walk with Christ does not come to a halt during tough stuff, it reveals our true character.
We are provided an opportunity for our paths to becoming illuminated. I can see light through the darkness in the Book of Job. It is the light of Christ that lives in us as we make choices during our individual struggles.
Light still exists because Jesus still exists and lives.
Chronic illness does not require that the light of Jesus get sucked out of us. It is a choice to continue to walk with the Lord, be open to His tender comfort during this difficult time — right along with the lessons that He carefully presents to us.
Job clearly shows us the many sides of life, faith and the humanness of suffering.
Again, I hope you read Job 38-40
This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.~ Isaiah 48:17 (NIV)
Letting God be God during chronic illness can be one of the greatest lessons of all. We can find a power, strength and understanding inside of ourselves that He gave us, to endure the times of illness.
It is in the learning how to endure that builds our character, for God’s glory.
My Redeemer lives!!
Geeze, it is easier to say than do. God has done, is doing, will do this in our lives and through our tough stuff!!!!