In the matter of a very short afternoon I had a common theme to come to my attention. In reading my most recent book - Walking With God - this afternoon John Eldridge is sharing about a time when he was involved in an accident and broke both arms. The title of his chapter is 'Until God Becomes Our All'. He talks about all of the blessings and gifts that we have, from God, and that we often times focus our attention on what He has given us instead of ultimately on Him.
'We give our hearts over to so many things other than God. We look to so many other things for life. I know I do. Especially the very gifts that He Himself gives to us - they become more important to us than He is. That's not the way it is supposed to be. As long as our happiness is tied to the things we can lose, we are vulnerable... But we end up worshiping the gift instead of the Giver. We seek for life and look to God as our assistant in the endeavor. We are far more upset when things go wrong than we ever are when we aren't close to God.
And so God must, from time to time, and sometimes very insistently, disrupt our lives so that we release our grasping of life here and now. Usually through pain. Gos is asking us to let go of the things we love and have given or heart to, so that we can give our hearts even more fully to Him.'
Back to my thoughts:
It certainly strikes an interesting thought with me. Where do I place my value. Do I seek Him first in every decision or do I do what I want to do without asking for His guidance. So in my study of Job this question came up: If all of your belongs were taken away, your family killed and your health was no longer would you turn to God - who you know is all providing, all protecting and sovereign - or would you turn away from God? The way of the world says that suffering is a punishment (as does Eliphaz, Job's friend). But the truth of the matter is that we are here to serve God. He wants us to walk with Him and to grow closer to Him. He desires that we seek Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and spirit. Without God we are suffering, suffering for lack of eternal life. So. After I was done reading this afternoon I opened my bible study and here was the first thing that I read:
From CBS Job Bible Study:
'Life is characterized by change, and change often time means loss. Though everything we have is a gift from God, we tend to expect Him to always bless us and never take back any of His gifts. Our comfortable lifestyles, our good health, our loving relationships, our satisfying careers and pursuits, are all vulnerable to change.'
Back to me:
Our entire lives are vulnerable to change all according to God's will and purpose. He does love us and He certainly does want us to enjoy our lives (and things) on this earth. 1Timothy 6:17 says 'Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment'. But he also wants us to draw closer to Him. We all go through times of suffering and pain and in these times we become more like Him - He is polishing us. I have to answer the question (would I turn to or away from God if put in Job's position) honestly and tell you that my human spirit would question why this is happening, but I know that I would turn to Him. He would be all that I could turn to for refuge. He is the light of the world and I am thankful that He has called me to be His. Praise the Lord.
Psalm 67:1 May God be gracious to us and bles us and make His face shine upon us, that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation amoung all nations.