Day 21: Letting Go

There are many instances in Job when we want to shake our fists at the three friends and their constant assumptions that Job’s suffering is a result of some sort of sin in his life. It is beyond their way of thinking that, sometimes, suffering is just a part of living in this fallen world. Then, there are times when suffering is a part of God’s greater plan. While we may not like or understand this plan, we trust in his love for us and the goodness of his ways.

Just to be clear, suffering does not always equal punishment.faith pin

Sometimes, however…

{imagine me whispering and typing softly}

our suffering is a result of sin in our own lives.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. – Isaiah 30:20-21

It’s true. Much like a child who occasionally needs correcting, we sometimes need a little affliction to put us back on the right path. There are two important things to remember when going through affliction.

  1. God will not hide himself from you. Look for him.
  2. God will talk you through the trial. Listen for him.

Why does he do it this way? Why doesn’t he just say “no-no” and leave us alone? When we see God guiding us through an intense time of suffering, often it is only then that we have no choice but to let go of the false gods to which we had been clinging.

Then, you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” – Isaiah 30:22

God loves us enough to put us in a desperate situation where we are forced to hold on to him for dear life and, in so doing, must let go of whatever we have been holding onto for so long. Tough love at its finest, y’all.

But we can’t end it there because he does not end it there.

…and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow. – Isaiah 30:26

Redemption.

Restoration.

Healing.

We will never regret letting go of things that we had held on to in place of God. Those things? They were never going to do what they promised.

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For the introductory post to this series, as well as an ongoing index of all the posts, just click here. —> 31 Days of Faith

Day 17: How strong does he think I am?

I was cleaning the bathroom when I received the text from my dad. He was responding to a request I made for him to babysit the kids one evening. He traveled for work and, so, I never knew when he would be in town.

I looked at my phone and read the text. It won’t be a problem for me to babysit. I’ve just been laid off.

Immediately, I was sick to my stomach. At that point in time, my mom was still on medical leave from work recovering from cancer surgery where they had removed one of her kidneys. I had watched my parents bravely battle cancer for nine months with unwavering faith. And now this.

I remember crying in the shower and yelling at God. “What are you doing to them?” faith pin

I believe this is where we find Job in chapter six. He has lost so much. He is enduring such pain. So, he cries out to God.

Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh bronze? – Job 6:12

How strong do you think I am, God? That is what Job is asking. How strong do you think I am?

Maybe this is your question of the day, too. If so, there is an answer.

He remembers that we are dust. – Psalm 103:14

God knows exactly what we are made of because he did the making. If you are studying your current struggle and trying to see if you are strong enough, you are focusing on the wrong source of strength.  You do not need to have the strength of stones to endure. You just need a strong tower to run to and be safe (Proverbs 18:10.)

In the midst of suffering, Satan will whisper, You’re not strong enough.

In the face of suffering, Faith says, I know, but he is.

~~~

For the introductory post to this series, as well as an ongoing index of all the posts, just click here. —> 31 Days of Faith

Day 10: When Your Spirit is Broken

God just hates me.

I’m embarrassed to admit that those words really came out of my mouth. But, truth be told, they felt true at the time. Nothing major had gone wrong. No one was ill. It was nothing like that. It was more of a death-by-a-thousand-cuts sort of thing. One little annoyance here. One not so little mistake in the checkbook there. A flat tire. A blown circuit. A stain on the carpet. A crying kid. I know someone out there is following me.faith pin

Here is the thing with suffering. It does not matter if someone else, looking into your situation, would declare it to be suffering. If you are in pain – then you are in pain. And what causes you pain may not bother me, but that doesn’t make it any less painful for you.

So, when looking at Job, it sometimes helps to focus less on the specifics of his trials and look at his pain. Because, well, we all have that in common.

My spirit is broken. – Job 17:1

Have you been there? Are you there now?

When we feel broken – we can not stay there. If we allow ourselves to wallow in our brokenness, to focus our gaze on the suffering instead of the savior, we may just miss our deliverance. 

Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery. – Exodus 6:9

God had a plan to save his people. It was in motion and freedom was coming. But they would not listen. They could not see beyond the current struggle.

Whatever you are currently dealing with, if it has broken your spirit, I have great news for you.

The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18

He heals the broken.

He lifts the fallen.

He saves the crushed in spirit.

It’s what he does and, friend, he is really good at it.

~~~

For the introductory post to this series, as well as an ongoing index of all the posts, just click here. —> 31 Days of Faith

Day 8: Wounded, Not Weakened

There is a flow to the life of a Christ-follower.faith pin

Suffering –> Trusting –> Doing Good

Rinse. Repeat.

Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. – 1 Peter 4:19

It isn’t easy. Sometimes, we get stuck in the suffering. I’m pretty sure that is what Satan is counting on – that we would become overwhelmed by the suffering and just hang out there for a while.

Peter is not listing these activities as things done consecutively. You don’t suffer and then, when the suffering is complete, begin to trust. You do not trust and then, when God has proven to be faithful, begin to do good. These are concurrent activities – all happening at the same time. Suffering, trusting, doing – they all intermingle and overlap. 

We make it through the battle, but not unscathed. We are battle scarred, worn and weary.We are wounded, but not weakened. Our faith is stronger and our eyes see clearer. Suddenly, we notice the wounded around us. Our hearts recognize the gait of one who has wrestled with God.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Are you afflicted? Perplexed? Persecuted? Struck down?

Just don’t let go. Hold on tight and wait for the blessing. This thing will not destroy you. Wrestle it out and then, when the sun rises, walk on. Satan may get a few licks in now and then, but the joke is on him because there’s nothing stronger than a faith that limps.

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For the introductory post to this series, as well as an ongoing index of all the posts, just click here. —> 31 Days of Faith