Friday, August 21, 2009

2009 – Day 232.Aug 21 – Raw Reality

Passage of the Day: Job 3: 1 - 26 … Linked for study

My Journal for Today:
If you’re a parent these days; and you have small kids or grandkids, do you find yourself using the remote control to edit out or change the channels when the raw reality of some of raw commercial or violent program hits the screen and you don’t want your little loved ones to see scenes which are just too raw for them at their age? Well, as Swindoll points out after we’ve had the character of Job built up in Chapter 1 and 2 by Job taking all he did from Satan’s two knockdown punches, here we come to the raw reality of a man who is so deeply depressed he’d rather not have been born.

Chapter Three of Job’s account is a lamentation of desperation. It’s a song of depression. It’s a cry of “WHY am I here?” And here we were, thinking Job was above all that. Didn’t God set him up to be the Lord’s example to Satan of character strength? And here our hero is setting out a song of self hatred and a lament, questioning why he was born in the first place. … Well, my friends this, to me, is the beauty of God’s truth in His word. Because God doesn’t tell in His Bible an edited, goodie-two-shoes, version of Job’s life. No, in God’s word we see the raw reality of a man, who needs to express to God that he’s reached the end of his life’s intended rope. And in this plea for understanding, we can all identify with being in that place called by David in Psalm 23, “the valley of the shadow of death.”

Well, the raw reality for Job in Chapter 3 is that he’s down about as far as his mind/heart can go; and he needs to let these feelings out. And he does just that. As Swindoll calls it, we are at the place of “raw reality.” Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re there right now. You know, and Chuck Swindoll rightly points out that we humans, as fallen creatures, have a wildly distorted view of life. It’s like we feel entitled to the “good life.” Some how, we, as Christians, come to the understanding that, as Swindoll writes, “God loves (us) and He has a wonderful plan for our lies.” Well, that’s true; but our idea of “wonderful plan” and God’s idea can be – and often are - vastly different.

We think that God’s “wonderful plan” should include good health, financial security, happy marriage, and well-behaved children. And when things go south into the valley of the shadow of death, some how we get the idea that God has abandoned us for this reality of desperation; and this just couldn’t be God’s plan; … could it?! Well, that’s where we find our hero, Job, right now in Chapter 3 of his life story. And it’s not a pretty sight. But then again when situational depression coming over us, it’s never a pretty thing to experience, is it?

And Job is not the only Bible hero, whom we read about in Scripture, who comes to a place of desperate confusion and depression, questioning their very existence. Moses was in that valley, as was Jonah, and Elijah and King David in the OT. And then there was Peter after having denied Jesus as well as Paul’s lament in Romans 7 in the NT. No, the Bible doesn’t gloss over our human weaknesses as being part of His grand plan, … His schema for redemption. And right now we’re reading of Job’s raw reaction to his raw reality.

So, as we read Job, who truly is one of the biblical models for Christlike character in the midst of horrible trials, Chapter three give us the reality that we can bring our laments and our cries to our God. And we can keep crying out, as we’ll see Job doing for many chapters in this book. And as it will be for Job, it may seem like God is silent as we hear from the world or from others; but God’s word is clear and we can bank on it with our faith … that God will never leave us, nor forsake us. And I hope you know where to find that truth by this point. If not, try Deut. 31: 6, 8 or Joshua 1: 5 or Hebrews 13: 5, all of which are promises from God that He’s the one, not only leading us, as David said, through the valley of the shadow of death, but He’s leading us to the place of peace and rest and restoration on the other side.

But right now, Job is being given the opportunity to vent; and vent he does. And in this we can realize that God doesn’t expect us to remain silent with our feelings. No, God can take it if you’re mad at Him? Let Him know about it; but as we’ll see, we must keep on keeping on, doing all we can to see God’s way and His will, … seeking out His light to follow through the darkness.

He’s out there my friend. So, you when feel down, let Him hear your cry … but keep moving toward Him; and He will be found.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, right now I am in that peaceful place; and I’m feeling okay; but I know you’ll be there too when things may go awry. Thank you for your unshakable love and promise for tomorrow. Amen

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