Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blessed be the Name of the Lord

Two Sundays ago, our pastor started a sermon series on the book of Job. Job happens to be one of my favorite books of the Bible, as I can relate to Job in some small way, as most of us can. I figured this would be a great series for me to hear right now. The fact that Chad and I were both brought to tears by the end of the first week is an indication that these next few weeks are going to be good for our hearts. While, I don't want to steal my pastor's content, it did get me thinking about posting regarding Job 1:21 where Job says, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord."

We live in a day and age where we buy now and pay later because we don't like waiting. We feel entitled to have lots of stuff. Society pressures us to keep up with the the neighbors. We want the biggest, the best, and the newest. We see and hear about clawing your way to the top and taking what you want. I want what I want, when I want it. Impatience and pride reign supreme. While I am not trying to climb a corporate ladder, I do have some of those same issues in my own life. I wish I could run; wish I didn't live in pain. I want my house a certain way. I think I need the latest gadget or want more of them.

I have just a couple of observations to make. First, I think it is hard every moment of every day to remember that we came into this world with nothing, and all that we have is from God. I mean, when I stop and actually think it through I willingly admit that this is true, but then turn around and walk away and act as if I can scheme and work and make it all happen on my own. As if I were the one getting myself what I feel I deserve. The truth is that it is God who wills; God that gives and takes away. All our effort is futile and puny in God's sovereign plan for our lives. The truth is that the only thing we deserve is punishment. Our pride and arrogance that make us think we control everything, that we alone work to get what we want and we alone provide things to our families, is just one example of our utter sinfulness deserving of hell. The Lord does indeed give. He gives forgiveness and and reconciliation through His son, Jesus Christ, to all who believe.

Second, none of this earthly "stuff" matters. We will not take any of these things with us when we die. Even if, by the grace and favor of God, you amass a fortune, it will be left behind for others. And ultimately we know that we are not to "lay up for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19). Instead of being earthly-focused (focused on self), we should be heavenly-focused (focused on Christ). I should give thanks when the Lord gives, but also when He takes away. He alone is to be glorified, and if I have to walk through the valley instead of running on the mountain tops, my one consistent prayer has been that He may be glorified in me and through me. That I may carry the burden of suffering, suffering well, that He might let others see my light shine, and they would glorify my Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). So instead of striving to build our empires, we should "lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:20)

May we continually remember that as believers in Christ we "have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) At the end of the day it isn't about me. It isn't about what I have or who I know. It has been and always will be about Him. I would not have chosen the path I find myself on, but I know that He has a purpose. So I cling to my Savior in the midst of suffering and pray that I might have tunnel vision; to keep my eyes fixed upon Him, and not on all the distractions and desires of the world.

I will leave you with the words of the hymn we sang after the Introduction to Job. My eyes were already tearing up at the conclusion of the sermon, and this hymn really touched me. (If you would like to hear the sermon series -and I highly recommend it-you can catch up here.)

Whate'er My God Ordains Is Right

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His holy will abideth;
I will be still whate’er He doth;
And follow where He guideth;
He is my God; though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path:
I know He will not leave me.
I take, content, what He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His loving thought attends me;
No poison can be in the cup
That my Physician sends me.
My God is true; each morn anew
I’ll trust His grace unending,
My life to Him commending.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He is my Friend and Father;
He suffers naught to do me harm,
Though many storms may gather,
Now I may know both joy and woe,
Some day I shall see clearly
That He hath loved me dearly.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking.
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet I am not forsaken.
My Father’s care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to Him I leave it all.

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