On the streets of the old city two distant friends collide on the cobblestone. And that is very much what they are. Distant, at an arms length, inaccessible, out of range and out of reach. Yet the moment holds feelings of familiarity, joy, and forgiveness. They realized they had become the people they were meant to be and distance was the requirement for that to happen.
The world that spins so rapidly manages to freeze and lock into frame. Emotions are flying around like sparklers aflame on a stick. Untamed, free, and unspoken. And the moment becomes a snapshot. As they depart, they are utterly thankful for this divine crossing .
For yesterday is over and it was beautiful.
Wisdom Lit with Stevens. He tells me that we are going to dive deep into scripture. I recall the books encouraged by Lothamer to read this past year alongside my daily bread. And the bindings are traced with loss, tragedy, and beauty. Accepting all as a part of one’s story. The theme: not to do away with loss and try to cut it out of your memory but to enter into pain and recognize that life comes out of death. In this life some of our dreams will die, some of our plans
will come to a screeching halt, and unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it cannot yield much fruit.
” people with regrets can be redeemed, but they cannot reverse the loss that gave rise to their regrets. people can be changed by the unchangeable losses they experience. Thus,for redemption to
occur, they must let go of the loss itself and embrace all the good effects that the loss can have on their lives. They must somehow transcend what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead. In other words, they must seek personal transformation, which only comes through grace.” – Gerald Sittster- A Grace Disguised.
I move from regret to grace.
And Stevens says, ” We are studying the book of Job.” And well I am not impressed with the idea and again God’s timing is hilarious. I thought the wrestling season for such a subject was over for a while and quickly identify that I am taking the plunge even deeper.
Wisdom is knowledge applied. It is knowledge applied to life. Wisdom is the application of truth and understanding gained through personal experience. Wisdom is a journey. For this message permeates itself through the book of Job.
And then I think of times when I’ve seen and heard other Christians shoot off like a loaded gun truth and knowledge to those who suffer without any grace, empathy or experience. I just can’t help but feel a hollowness in such responses. I am as guilty as anyone else. I recognize people I’ve hurt by making brash statements without grounding. I become like Job’s friends who try to provide answers to Job’s suffering through logic. He must have sinned because all this is happening to him right? For that is not the case at all.
When we back out of this story we see a gamble in the cosmos. We see Satan accuse God that the only reason Job loved Him is because of everything that God had given to him. The cards have been dealt, we see the hand at play.
And God removes everything from Job’s life: possessions, servants, children, and inflicts great sores into his body. He didn’t lose his wife but she wasn’t the most helpful in the scenario. God takes away everything. Job experiences great loss but is not invited in on the dialogue that we get front row seats to. He sees that his loss and suffering areboth great, we see a war that is being waged. God believes in Job. He believes that Job doesn’t just love him for what He gives but loves him just for the sake of loving him. If Job caves, Satan would be proved true. But he doesn’t cave. He remains obedient. And Satan’s plan backfires. Another way to put it:
” The awful glimpse down into the abyss of an existence without Him had so staggered and appalled her heart that she felt she could never be quite the same again. However, it had opened her eyes to the fact that right down in the depths of her own heart she really had but one passionate desire, not for the things that the Shepherd had promised but for Himself. All she wanted was to be allowed to follow Him forever.” Hannah Hurdrd, Hinds Feets
God trusted Job with a lot. Job saw it as suffering, we see it as God defeating the accusation of the enemy. And Job never got a why to all of the questions. He isn’t given a tutorial on the meaning behind why he went through the hell that he experienced. God responds to his questions with questions. No answers were given but if that is all we see then we miss the point entirely.
God engages with Job. He speaks to Job. Dialogue takes place. In and through the questions. God through his questions shows Job that He is there. That He hasn’t left, that He hasn’t checked out. Job needs this reminding. And here is the turning point near the end of the book:
I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye seesYou. -Job 42:5
He previously had only heard God, but now Job sees Him.
We all need this reminding. When we suffer sometimes all we are allowed to see is the present and tangible circumstances. But what we don’t see is the war that God is winning in the cosmos because of our obedience and endurance. He trusts us with a lot.
He was there.
He is here.
In your midst. In your suffering.