Passage of the Day: Job 42 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Hey, folks, today is my wife’s ??th birthday [I’m smart enough not to put the number there]! We’ve been married almost 45 years; and I can remember back to the time, sometime back in the early 80s, when we both surrendered our lives to Christ. We were both right at 40 years old at the time; and our individual decisions to become babes in Christ was followed by a commitment, sometime thereafter, to grow old in His way, pursuing His will.
And it is the latter, that maturing process of Christianity, labeled “sanctification,” which is the topic of Chuck Swindoll’s message today in his devotional book which I’ve been using. And he points out, from Verse 16-17 of Chapter 42 of Job, that the story of this hero of the faith closed out with Job living a very full and faith-filled life.
But there was all that time, documented in the rest of the book of Job, that our hero had to learn the lesson of what James in the New Testament calls ”patience” or “endurance” and/or “perseverance” [depending on your version of James 1: 2-4]; and that, as we’ve been studying was a confusing and disturbing time in Job’s life. But we all know this; don’t we? Anytime we’re confronted by physical, emotional, or spiritual challenges in life, we are faced with a faith challenge. Do we relent to the challenge; or do we choose to trust that God is in control and that He knows best for us and our lives? Job learned this lesson; and he lived a long life pursuing His relationship with God, going deeper and deeper into that relationship.
Now we ask, “Where are we on this trek to maturity and holiness?” Swindoll, challenges me today to do one of those 2nd Cor. 13: 5 tests and see where I stand in my walk of faith. And I must say, as honestly as I can, that I’m committed to going deep with Lord. And [ugh!], this is the tough part, … I’d also like to be one who’s made a commitment to responding to the tough times of life by learning where God is leading me [i.e., pursuing His will] and not letting those tough times take me into selfishness or self-pity.
Is it easy? … Absolutely not! But reading through and studying the life of Job has helped me to deepen my resolve to grow in my relationship with Christ, … being more mature in my resolve for Christ today than yesterday and even more tomorrow than today. How about you, dear one? Are you there? And yes, when we make that commitment, we all have to recognize, as did Job, that we’re going to encounter more times which deeply challenge our faith. We ARE going to encounter suffering; and though it may not be as bad as Job’s deal, our faith is going to be tested.
Swindoll quotes Oswald Chambers at this point in his study, who apparently wrote [Swindoll gave no citation reference], “To choose suffering makes no sense at all; [but] to choose God’s will in the midst of suffering makes all the sense in the world.” But I must add, … the latter quote will only really make sense to a committed and maturing Christian who believes and lives for the truth of such passages we have studied and to which we’ve referred this month, … passages like Isaiah 55: 8-9, Romans 8: 23, or 1st Cor. 10: 13. (I hope you know what they say!).
And so I close by asking, “Do we live for these truths?” … Do we seek God’s will rather than relenting to the confusion of challenging times in our lives? Swindoll asks the question, “Are you viewing your trial as an outrage or an opportunity?” And with that, I fully believe my wife, on this her biological birthday, and I have come to pursue the opportunity of challenge rather than seeing any of these tough times as an outrage. However, I could tell you more on that with a number of more years in this walk of faith that we call life. Get back to me in a decade or so; and I’ll let you know. ;>)
My Prayer for Today: Lord, and dear Friend, Jesus, today I pursue Your will in the midst of challenge; and I pray I will even more do so tomorrow. Amen