Passage of the Day: Job 24 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Wow, to say the least, this chapter illustrates our occasional frustration when we see God’s plan unfolding in the circumstances of life. And like Job, we have trouble understanding why our God, Whom we love to see as always being loving and merciful; and why He would allow such pain and agony to prevail in the lives of His children, especially those, like Job, who have been so good.
We see it all the time. A really good person like Lou Gehrig or your child comes down with an incurable disease. Some lovely, but gullible, elderly widow is wiped out by an unscrupulous con-man. Or a staunch and Godly person prays and prays for a relief from pain; and God seems far away, obviously saying “NO” or “WAIT” to the prayers. Why does God allow such bad things to visit such good people?
We can’t answer that question with great certainty, can we? And the Bible is full of stories about men of faith, like Job, who came to a place in their lives when God’s plan, which was unfolding for them, seemed like craziness. Think of Moses in the presence of the burning bush, overwhelmed by God’s instructions to go and free His people. Or there was the mighty Prophet, Elijah, sitting under the broom tree, wishing he could die in such despair and confusion. And there was the Apostle, Paul, who prayed and prayed and prayed for relief from the “thorn” God had allowed Satan to give him; and the pain just wouldn’t go away.
As Swindoll states today in his devotional entry, sometimes, “… we cannot explain the inexplicable. We cannot fathom the unfathomable. So, let’s not try to unscrew the inscrutable.” Job is coming to the realization, in today’s focus chapter 24, that God’s plan is just flat too confusing to figure out. He’s coming to the realization of what God says in Isaiah 55: 8 – 9 …
8 “ For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Wouldn’t Job had felt better hearing his three friends say something like, “Job, we just don’t have a clue what’s going on. And we just don’t understand why God is allowing all these things to happen to you; but we’re here for you … no matter what.” That would have been a lot easier to take than the feeble attempts of these three counselors to give him their OWN insights.
Sometimes, we’re at a loss to explain God’s plan; but, again, if we believe the truth of my own personal “hang-on” scriptures, some of which I’ve been using these past few days, we’ll come out okay in God’s long run. So, let me exhort you, if you’re reading this, to memorize and internalize a few key “strength” scriptures. I’ll not quote them here or link you to them. I want you to look them up, study them in context, memorize them, and then let God use His truth to give you comfort or strength when you need it like Job did.
Here are my hall-of-fame strength-giving passages which I turn to when I’m in the midst of some personal storm of circumstances. 2nd Tim. 3: 16-17 … Isaiah 26: 3 and 41: 10 … Romans 8: 28 … Phil. 4: 13 … 1st Cor. 10: 13 … 2nd Cor. 12: 9. And when I am grappling with my circumstances in life, totally confused, and down-in-the-dumps, I get to a quiet place and I begin reciting (aloud) these verses, which I have embedded deeply in my heart. And in between my verbal meditation, I pray such words as “Lord, I don’t understand what’s going on or why You’re leading me through this valley; but I know You love me and I know you are doing this for my good. Help me to see it, Lord; or help me even more to accept it.”
This faith exercise may not – and often doesn’t – make the bad stuff go away; but it ALWAYS quiets my heart and gives me God’s peace in the midst of my storm. I pray this little discipline will help someone else as much as it has me.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for giving me Your word to light my path, especially when things get really dark. Amen