Consider our partner Job. Ok, I know, most of you get really nervous when asked to look at Job because you assume that means we are going into a time of intense suffering.
Well, honestly, many believers in the U.S. are going through a time that is somewhat tough for them. I’ve watched these folks really struggle as things seem to come at them out of the blue – they are fighting battles that are REALLY stretching them.
Let’s take a look at our partner Job because I believe the Holy Spirit has revealed to me in part what is going on.
Job was a man of God – he loved the Lord. It’s seems he had system set up that protected him from tragedy and hard times. He would sacrifice for his kids just in case they had done anything wrong. This is an interesting system to me since the Bible seems to say that each of us are responsible to God for ourselves – Job’s children being no different.
Yet, Job loved God and God loved Job.
Satan comes to God and in essence says, “Job may be a man of God but look at him – he has covered himself with all of these fig leaves – belief systems that make his world seem safe: systems in which he has placed his trust. If you take away the fig leaves, he will be left stripped and it will be manifest that his faith wasn’t in you at all but in his systems. Then, you will really see that he doesn’t trust you and he will curse you to your face.”
All of us try and take the unfathomable faith of the Word of God and put it in nice, neat understandable frameworks in which we can trust. If we can’t understand it, it frightens us because we realize we are not in control. And, we don’t like lack of control because that means we are left with nothing but trust in God. And, after all – satan told Eve our predecessor at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that we couldn’t trust him.
God told satan, “You may strip away the fig leaves but don’t touch the man himself.”
Job loved God but his safety net was taken away and for forty chapters he resorts to reason. Why did this happen? I followed the formula as I understood it and things still went bad.”
Mary and Martha, sisters to Lazarus who died in John 11 experienced the same thing. You see it in their conversation with Jesus, “Lord, if you would have done things according to how we thought you would, our brother would not have died.”
These control systems die hard. Total faith in God is a scary thing: one in which God is steadily bringing us to through a process called sanctification.
When God does speak to Job, He doesn’t answer one of Job’s questions. In essence, you could sum the whole conversation up this way:
God’s explanation to Job about what happened – I am God and you are not.
What is happening in your life; what stripping that is scaring you to death? Are you finding that the religious systems that you thought were Word based are not working? Is your understanding of the Word of God going through a transition because of your ordeal?
Mary and Martha saw Lazarus raised from the dead after all formulas were exhausted and all lack of faith was revealed. Job was restored with a double portion after he understood that God is God and he is not. That is what it means to have a true fear of the Lord.
You will not die but live and declare the works of the Lord. True miraculous power comes at the end of stripping; in the presence of true vulnerability.