Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Job - Living In A Whirlwind"

Contrary to what most people think, the book of Job is not a story of a self-righteous man being punished by God for his sin. Actually he was a righteous man who one day, by no fault of his own, found himself living in a whirlwind. Another word for whirlwind is twister. Job was living a normal life when a great and giant twister came and took his children, his livestock and everything he owned. And if that wasn’t enough, he was also afflicted with a terrible skin disease, or in layman terms, boils.

Lately I've witnessed several families going through extreme hardship−and they, like Job are living in a whirlwind. I’d like to share my heart with those of you who tend to judge these people. Whether it is the loss of a home, a job, one's health or an injustice—it isn’t our position to criticize, find fault or figure out how they got there. It seems when loss and suffering come, every area of one’s life is affected; even friends get caught in the whirlwind.

Actually, this is true of Job’s friends too. While he was going through the most devastating trial of his life, one by one, after sitting with him for seven days, contemplating his situation; they did more harm than good. After their proclamations, Job became more beleaguered and confused by their judgments than by his circumstance. As wonderful and sincere as friends can be, instead of offering Job compassion, prayers and friendship; they brought false accusations and condemnation. And if that wasn't enough, they began to rationalize among themselves just how Job's problems could be solved; thus the dreadful process of thinking for God.

Although Job never sinned against God with his lips, I am certain that living in a whirlwind makes anyone susceptible to it. However, Job never blamed God, but he did curse the day he was born. Could Job have ended this suffering by cursing God? That’s what his wife wanted. That meant she blamed God for what was happening. In a way she was right, God did after all, offer up Job to Satan by saying, “have you considered my servant Job?” But, instead of blame, he desperately and relentlessly pursued God.

At last, a suddenly happens, now instead of living in a whirlwind, for one moment everything stopped and Job was silenced by God speaking to him from the whirlwind. Job answers God's question "who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?" by replying that he has said things he didn't understand because they were far beyond his comprehension. This is very different from his previous complaint. God's ways had been just as incomprehensible, but at that time, they were dark, heavy, and oppressive; now they are full of life and wonder. Like Job, our first response to pain and suffering is oppression. That is, until we desperately pursue God; then supernatural revelation brings transformation. Job's next phrase reveals his dawning moment. "Listen, please, and let me speak;" Job replied "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” Eph. 1:18a says, "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;" the eyes of his understanding were opened. Job's torment not only brought him solidarity with God, it brought him into God's very presence. In His presence, things look different. When Job’s friends are told by God to go and be prayed for and offer sacrifices to him, they too see things differently. Their life of living in the whirlwind of guessing, reasoning and thinking are over as well; exchanged for a greater understanding of God's glorious ways!

Years ago, I found myself living in a whirlwind of my own. Something I had never encountered before and hopefully will never be subjected to again. It was a travesty with no rational explanation. The fact that I had in all honesty done nothing wrong was the worst part. Like Job, I felt abandoned by God. This kind of injustice far surpasses one's mortal comprehension. All I could do was trust my all powerful, fair and righteous God to see me through. While I never lost my child or became sick, my name was associated with wrongdoing and I needed God to redeem, restore, and acknowledge my innocence. That never happened.

What did happen was God spoke to me while I was in the midst of the whirlwind, and brought great understanding. In my desperation, He reminded me that He too had done nothing wrong but through His sufferings brought forgiveness of sin, and a personal relationship with God the Father. I realized His objective was to give me the same beautiful testimony He gave Job, no matter how minute. I was now a partaker of His sufferings. God knew Job would remain faithful, and I am proud to say, He knew I would too.

We may never know why, at times, we experience trials and tribulations; but we can be sure of one thing, God is right there with us and our friends should be too. My heart goes out to those today that may be living in a whirlwind—let’s not try, judge and sentence them in the court of human reasoning.  Rather, let’s surround them with love, and nurse them back to a place where hope and a future are found; a place where judgment finds no home. Remember, everything can change in a single breath. Let’s be loving and compassionate. Let’s stand with them in their time of need and believe God for full and total restoration…lest it be us tomorrow!

Love God desperately, love people compassionately (Pastor Dan Hicks)

Rev Daina House