Accept, Admit, Abide – Part 3

In the last post, we examined the life of Joseph. Today, we will think through Job’s powerful story. According to Scripture, Job was upright. He was righteous in all of his ways. And—here’s the most curious piece of his story—God himself held Job up to Satan for consideration.

Have You Considered My Servant, Job?

In the opening chapter of Job, we see this curious incident play out. After God offers Job for consideration, Satan begins to challenge Job’s character. And the story takes off from there.

We must understand something right away, God is the one allowing this whole ordeal to unfold. That’s a hard truth. What happened during this great God-allowed testing? As the devil challenged Job, Job lost his property, his children, and his health. Then to add insult to injury, Job’s wife came to him and said, “Curse God and die.”

What was Job’s response in the face of this seemingly insurmountable trouble? He lamented. Let’s look at an amazing set of verses, Job 2:9-10.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

What was Job’s response in the face of his seemingly insurmountable trouble? #BiblicalLament Click To Tweet

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

There are people in the church today who assert that God gives, but God doesn’t take away. Their reasoning is that if God took away, it would contradict his goodness. This idea is so wrong. Contemplate what Scripture shows us. “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

Job spoke a very important truth that we often struggle to speak in our own lives. I believe Job continued to struggle to keep believing as he moved through his story, but he held to this idea that if we accept good from God, then we need also accept adversity.

This is why Jesus, in the New Testament, tells us to pray, “Father, lead us not into temptation.” Why would we need to pray this prayer if being led into temptation was not a possibility for us? God does not tempt us, but he will allow tests to come our way. Should we accept the good and not the adversity?

This goes back to what we learned in Part 1 about the modern trend of insulating ourselves from the negativity of life. If we can’t say what Job said, then we are keeping company with his wife. But—if we look at life through Job’s lenses—we say, “I will accept good from God AND I’m will accept adversity. I’m going to trust God.” This is Biblical lament. This is what Job was doing and saying. He accepted and abode. And this is what we—the Church—need to relearn.

If we can’t say what Job said, then we are keeping company with his wife. We must accept the good AND the bad. #biblestudy Click To Tweet

God Works All Things Together for Good

We’re living through a time when we don’t know what’s happening. Are we going to curse God and die? Are we going to give up? Are we going to become practical atheists and live life as though God were not a part of who we are? Or, are we going to admit we’re in a pandemic, accept that we don’t know why it’s happening or what will come while also accepting that we don’t need to know?

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

What we actually want Paul to have said in Romans 8:28 is that God works good things for our good. What it actually says is God works all things for our good. Pretending as though we will not face adversity is foolishness. Church, we are not different from the rest of the world if everything goes well and we react well. We should react well when things aren’t going well because we trust in the God of the universe.

Pretending as though we will not face adversity is foolishness. #christianliving Click To Tweet

God responded to Job directly concerning his way, his will, and his purpose in Job’s life. Spoiler alert: God doesn’t give a full answer for why he allowed the testing, temptation, and tragedy. In Job 42:1-6, we are presented with an important dialogue:

“I know that you can do all things;

    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’

    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,

    things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;

    I will question you,

    and you shall answer me.’

My ears had heard of you

    but now my eyes have seen you.

Therefore I despise myself

    and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job spoke to God saying, “…no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” As Christians, we like to say this. We like to rest in the fact that God can do all things. But remember, all is more than we think it is. God answered Job saying, “Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?” Let’s sum up what God just said, “Who is this idiot talking to me right now? This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Repent & Submit

This is us in so many areas of our lives. We obscure God’s plans. We lack knowledge. What does Job do when he was presented with this reality of himself? He responded with, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand things too wonderful for me to know.” And later, he continued with, “My ear had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.” We could rephrase this as, “I thought I knew you God, but now I know you.”

Everyone had had a theory about what God was doing in Job’s life—Job himself, his wife, and his friends. Everyone thought they knew God. But in the end, when Job comes face-to-face with God, his only response was repentance and acceptance that God’s way—God’s will—is good and right. “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Why does Job repent?

“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand things too wonderful for me to know.”

This is a powerful reality. While Job and his friends offered their best interpretation of God’s purposes during Job’s turbulent time, they all spoke without understanding, which displeased God.

God called Job to a purer lament and Job responded by accepting, admitting, and abiding. Church, instead of theorizing what this current pandemic is about, let’s recapture the beauty of Biblical lament. It’s okay to ask God why as long as we appeal to him based on a confidence in his character. Stop getting mad at him. He is at work—we may not understand how—but that doesn’t change his perfect purposes.

Church, instead of theorizing what this current pandemic is about, let’s recapture the beauty of Biblical lament. #Covid-19 #christianliving Click To Tweet

Accept, Admit, Abide

We must admit there are things we don’t know. We must abide in God through it all. Let’s take our cues from David, Joseph, and Job. Maybe you haven’t had your job furloughed. Maybe you haven’t lost a loved one. Maybe you’re not asking ‘why’ questions yet. But someday you will and I want you to be prepared.

I want you to be ready and to not lose faith. I want you to be the person who understands what this is all about. I want you to lament. I want you to accept. I want you to admit, I want you to abide in God. I want you to sing, to rejoice, to trust God. I want you to do all of this, and when you see someone else facing their own tragedy, you will be able to deliver to them what the Gospel says.

Let’s trust our God who will bring us through. Though the world may have no hope, we have something to look forward to—God. Click To Tweet

Let’s Talk

Are you struggling with questions you can’t answer? Are you accepting, admitting, and abiding. Reach out, we’re here to walk with you through this. Feel free to comment below or email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

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