Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How can he say that?

I was reading in Job this morning. Quite the amazing book. Lot to learn as I read it. This morning I read again the verse where Job said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart." (No problem there. It is so true. We can't take anything with us. So when we are dealing with stuff, as much as it would be a pain and a terror to have the house destroyed in fire or by a tornado, we would survive. We would miss many of the things we have collected - pictures, special items bought around the country on various trips, gifts given one another, etc. But we would rebuild and remake our lives.) "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." (Job 1:21 NIV) And again, this would be easier to say when we are dealing with the car that is wrecked in an accident than it would be to say that upon losing a child in the same accident.

Job must have truly been a man of faith. He trusted in the Lord with his whole heart. His wealth is taken from him, and he gives thanks to God. His children and their families are dead, and he gives thanks to God. How is that possible? I wonder to myself if I would be able to handle such an event - the death of a child. It was hard enough to handle the death of a parent (which I have faced numerous times in my life, having gone through the death of a marriage and then being raised by grandparents only to have one grandfather die, then another and then the woman who raised me - my grandmother, as well as the death of my wife's father who became like a father to me). I would struggle at the loss of my wife or my children. I know I would. Would I be able to say those words of Job, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." I pray that I would. It wouldn't be easy.

How can that be done? Through faith in Jesus Christ. You cannot say that without first and foremost having a deep faith in the Lord. Job had that. That is exactly why the devil was trying to destroy Job - his faith in God. The only way that you can have such an attitude is by looking to the One who has overcome death. Death is such a final, terrible event. It tears apart one's heart and life. When a loved one dies, it is almost surreal. Even when you expect it, it is still surreal. It can't be. They can't be dead. They will come back. They will open their eyes. They will say one more thing. They will...not come back.

Except for what the Lord has promised us - life eternal. Death is not the victor. Read I Corinthians 15 (it is too long to quote here). "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15:54-57 NIV) Jesus is the Victor not death. He gives life - right in the middle of death. He died and rose, and therefore all who believe in Him will die and rise again. Life in the middle of death! What a powerful and freeing thought! I will not die but will live!

That is how Job makes that very statement in the face of the grief that he is facing. It is Job who gives us the basis for that wonderful Easter/resurrection hymn, "I Know My Redeemer Lives." "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes - I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" (Job 19:25-27 NIV) That, my friends, is faith.

And that is how he can say that. May I be able to say the same thing should the time come. Lord, fill my heart with faith. Let the Holy Spirit empower me to live the life of faith, even as Job lived that life of faith.

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