“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Job 1:9-11
God knowing all things, including the heart of His servant Job, gave Satan permission to remove from Job’s life all the blessings he rightfully enjoyed in his life. Because Satan must have permission to act against anyone belonging to God, the hedge of protection remained around Job’s physical life, but everything else in Job’s life was fair game for the enemy to destroy.
Jesus named Satan’s true character in John 10, he is the enemy, the one who comes only to kill, steal and destroy. Why would we be surprised to witness his true character as he wreaked havoc on Job all in one day.
It came that day, the wind of destruction, collapsed a house and killed all of Job’s children underneath.
At the very beginning of Job’s story we learn this truth. There’s the wind and then there’s The Wind. Most all of us at some point in life will experience the wind of destruction, but not many of us will experience The Wind of the Holy Spirit.
How am I able to make that claim?
1. Jesus said in this world we will have trouble. Jesus always tells us the truth. He stated it plainly, but He also gave us assurance that those filled with The Wind of His Spirit will be victorious over ever kind of trouble because Jesus Himself has overcome the world.
2. Jesus is The Way & His way is narrow. Again, Jesus tells us the truth. He is the way home. He is Life. We simply have to accept His invitation to Life in Him. To follow Him. Our yes brings The Wind into our lives & fills us with Life.
How does Job’s story make you feel? Do you have questions?
God will hear your questions.
Have you ever disagreed with someone over the proper method of removing toothpaste from the tube? Some people squeeze from the middle. Others (like me) want to squeeze the tube from the very bottom. Are you a top down squeezer? Do share your unique style!
No matter the method, what is it that lands on your toothbrush when the toothpaste tube is squeezed? TOOTHPASTE!
People are not much different. When I am squeezed by my circumstances whatever is filled up in my heart is going to be the first ‘stuff’ to come out of my mouth as a reaction. If I am nurturing my heart with the Word of God & I am actively surrendering my will to Holy Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit will be evident in my response. My words will more likely be laced with grace, love & forgiveness.
However, for one who is not filled with the Spirit of God or has chosen not nurture their walk with God most likely the words spewed will be toxic. Likely sin has been crouching beneath the surface. Words & tones of bitterness, unforgiveness or even hatred could be released involuntarily when the pressures of life squeeze a person.
Unless I am intentional about keeping my eyes on Jesus & feeding myself upon the Word of God, I am just as prone to spew as anyone.
So, what about Job? How could our Father, good in all His ways, allow Satan to blow a hot wind of destruction into Job’s life? And why would He allow Satan a 2nd blow against God’s faithful servant?
Our Creator knew, as He knows all things, of what Job was filled. God’s Spirit dwelt with Job, I believe. Through their intimate relationship, Father had full knowledge of Job’s trust & devotion to Him.
Because God knew Job’s response would continually be a sacrifice of praise & worship, He allowed Satan to squeeze Job beyond our comprehension.
From Job 1, do you see how God trusted Job to pass this test? Is it true He trusts you with the trial you’re going through?
As I ponder the life & suffering of Job, I am reminded of Jesus. Is it possible Job is a prophetic foreshadowing of the beloved Son of God who would be selected by God to endure trial & suffering?
At the perfect time, Father God called Jesus to step into His earthly ministry. John, preparer of the way, baptized Jesus with water. It was then Holy Spirit visibly descended upon Jesus in the physical form of a dove. Witnesses experienced this sight; then the sound of The Father’s voice declaring the true identity of Jesus.
Luke 3:22 “You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” These are the words of Father God spoken over Jesus. This was the public unveiling of Jesus as King & the audible proclamation of God’s great pleasure & delight in His Son.
I hear in the Father’s pronouncement an echo of Father’s declaration to Satan regarding Job. “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
What if Father God bragged on Jesus in a similar way. “Meet My Son, Jesus. There is no other like Him. He helped Me create everything ever created. I love Him & I am delighted in Him. In fact, I am so sure of His identity in Me that I have chosen Him to go out, full of The Spirit, to fulfill my mission to rescue our creation which was formed in our image.”
Immediately after Jesus’ baptism, filled with Holy Spirit, Jesus was led by the Spirit in to the harsh wilderness to be tempted by the adversary, Satan, for 40 days. The apple of the Father’s eye was to be severely tested. God’s will for His beloved Son was that He would suffer & therefore rescue men & women out of death and into life.
Job was the apple of Father’s eye as well. Job was chosen.
I am the chosen daughter of Father’s delight to walk this wilderness way as well.
Do you believe you too are the son or daughter of Father God’s delight?
And then there were the friends of Job. I absolutely welcome & cheer their first response. They heard the grievous news concerning their friend, and set out together to visit him. To mourn with him. To sit in the ash pit with him. No words necessary. There were no words to comfort their friend after such a catastrophe. They just showed up, sat & grieved alongside him for 7 days and 7 nights.
Some of my favorite friendships are David & Jonathan, Ruth & Naomi, Jesus & Peter, and let me not forsake a classic – Ethel & Lucy! When your world has exploded and you have not one clue what to do next, nor the energy to even consider a next step, what could be better than loving people sitting with you in silence?
Maybe you’re better at this, but I am terrible at letting people know I am in pain. Even the closest family members rarely see me cry or admit that I am hurting – emotionally, physically or spiritually. Even admitting how terrible I am about admitting my weaknesses feels like an awful weakness.
Help me, Jesus!
Yet, one of my deepest longings is to have strong, intimate & authentic relationships with God, family & friends. I will continue to make myself share my heart with the real people in my life. (I seem to be able to do it in writing) And I’m asking Jesus to help me remove the mask & to develop me into a person who can honestly just live and be.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful though, in a crisis, to have three people in your life (or even one) who will just come & sit in your ash pit with you? No questions. No expectations. No idle talk. Just cry, grieve and sit with you.
I have such friends, and I am abundantly grateful. They know me so well. In this current season of waiting for The Wind, these precious few recognize when I am struggling to keep a smile. They invite themselves into my life.
Do you share painful places well? Who are your precious few? What would you say to them?
If you’re familiar with the true story of Job, you’re probably familiar with the bad press on Job’s friends. Collectively, these men are known for losing patience with Job’s suffering & their attempts to help Job fix his situation.
Though the men initially congregated around Job with compassion, as time passed the men offered a variety of their own ideas in order to bring resolution. They even went so far as to call on Job to confess his sin & repent so God might hear & have mercy on him.
Ouch! I hope this hasn’t happened to you. If it has, as a member of the family of God, I’m truly sorry. It shouldn’t happen to anyone who is suffering through a crisis.
Yet, I think in some respects we are too harsh on Job’s friends. They did show up, tear their clothing & sit in an ash pit with Job – 7 days & nights. They cared deeply for their friend. His suffering was probably scary to each of the men. I’m sure they thought a time or two, “If this would happen to Job, it could happen to me!”
The last four years for my STFM & I have been defined by loss & suffering. I absolutely know we are not the only ones living through such a season. Long-term illness hits a majority of families it seems. I can’t & won’t speak for STFM, but personally the most difficult aspect of our current season is this:
Everyone else has gotten used to our new normal while we’re still trying to accept our new normal.
That’s just brass tacks. Life keeps spinning at a break-neck pace while we’re just trying to gain some equilibrium in slow motion.
Most every day I think of the story of Lazarus, the friend of Jesus.
For Lazarus, Martha & Mary, all of life dragged into slow motion. They sent word to Jesus. Waited. Wondered. Watched. The women grieved the unnecessary loss of their brother. “If only Jesus had come…”
Jesus knew Lazarus was sick, but he lingered an extra two days to finish His Father’s business.
I love the story of Lazarus, Martha & Mary found in John 11 for so many reasons. Yes, because Jesus raised Lazarus from death to life after four days, but here’s my favorite. This family counted Jesus as a friend. A dearly beloved friend.
Jesus loved them too. (John 11:5) He cared. He loved. He knew. Jesus wept with Mary & Martha. He felt deep compassion for their suffering & loss. Yet, Jesus had other responsibilities as well. The Father assured Jesus that all would be well with Lazarus, Mary & Martha. So, Jesus obeyed His Father. He stayed put.
Jesus was not too late.
I snapped this sailboat picture while walking along the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. It was unusual to see a boat ‘parked’ so close to shore. We wondered. We assumed that the crew had purposely decided to anchor near the beach.
The next day when the same boat was stuck in the sand nearly sideways & yellow tape protected the scene, we realized our assumptions were wrong.
Even Job’s closest friends made assumptions about Job’s suffering. I believe – glass half full - they had the best of intentions in wanting to help him get unstuck, healed & restored. Yet, they allowed themselves to assume the worst about their friend.
I imagine Mary, Martha, & close neighbors made some assumptions about Jesus & Lazarus. Can’t you hear the talk? I imagine Mary & Martha whispering this prayer under their breath, “LORD, please don’t let me be put to shame for trusting You.” It’s been my prayer.
I wonder if anyone reading these words today feels they have been demoted to the ash pit. I validate that Jesus loves you. His compassion is for you in your circumstances. He sees you. He hears you. Best of all, He won’t be late & He will cry with you!
I’m not sure Jesus told us not to assume, but the old adage is tried & true. Please don’t assume everyone knows what you’re going through. Take a risk. Share your story.
That’s what I’m doing.
Thank you for joining me on the #write31days2018 journey through which I am writing Waiting for The Wind. I appreciate your participation as we’ve now spent three weeks pondering the lives of David, Abraham & Job in the waiting. I hope you will stay with me as we next look at Moses & friends waiting for the Promised Land.
May the Lord encourage your heart and bless you through and through. May you see Him in your life at every turn and may you rejoice greatly in His goodness!
Eyes on Jesus and SHINE, friends!