Discover His heart: Because He loves us so, He allows testing to strengthen us and help us grow closer to Him.
Florida is a beautiful place to live with its warm winter temperatures, lush colorful landscape and delicious fruits and vegetables. If you can get past the alligators, snakes and sharks, the waters of Florida are delightful as well. The dream of many individuals is to spend their waning years playing golf and relaxing in the sun, but the Year of the Hurricanes, 2004, changed a lot of dreams. When three of the four hurricanes that year passed through my county, they left a path of devastation that took years to restore and the downed trees will take decades to replace. It was a rough year and many people lost their dreams.
It was difficult to drive around our city after the storms and see the hundreds of lofty laurel oak trees uprooted and on their sides. They couldn’t weather the storms because of their shallow roots, but the bright note in the landscape as we traveled around town was the collection of palm trees still standing tall, lacking only a few fronds. One would think those skinny palms would be the first to go, but they survived because of their root system that grew deep enough to find a source of nutrition and because of their ability to bend and withstand winds up to 145 miles per hour. Job was like the palm tree. When the storms passed through his life, he was able to survive because he was rooted to the Source and because of his ability to bend…but it wasn’t easy.
@ Job 1
“There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil…He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.” (1-3) Growing tall and stately, Job caught the attention of God and Satan in their discourse about humanity. Satan accused Job of only respecting God because God was good to him, and he sought to remove God’s blessings and watch Job crumble.
And this is where the good news in Job begins! This is where we read that Satan does not know the future or he would not have asked to test Job – God was secure in allowing this testing of Job because He knew the end result. Secondly, Satan must get God’s permission to touch God’s children – God is not taken by surprise in the trials we face and provides comfort and help when we need it most. Thirdly, Satan can’t read our minds or he would have known Job’s commitment to God – God knows every thought we think even before we think it! And finally, although he has little imps to help him, we know that Satan is not omnipresent because he had to patrol the earth to watch what was going on – God is everywhere he chooses to be, all the time. Outside of accusation and temptation, the accuser is greatly limited in what he can do in our lives unless, of course, we open the door to him.
But the greatest message from the Book of Job is not about what happened to Job, although it was tragic to be sure, nor is it about why this happened to Job. The great message of Job is about who, the Sovereign Almighty God, and about one man’s, one good man’s, journey of total surrender to Him. We should not be afraid of Job’s journey and its message because they will only make us better. And there’s always Chapter 42 to look forward to. “But the godly will flourish like palm trees…” (Psalm 92:12)
Moving Forward: I’ll seek out and stay grounded to the Source today so that I can withstand the storms that may come my way.
Tomorrow @ Isaiah 1-6