God Is Where You Left Him

God Is Where You Left Him

Sometimes people think God abandoned them. Or He’s ignoring them and doesn’t care about their circumstances. Admittedly, I’ve hopped on that thought train a few times, too. When problems persist — or get worse — it’s tempting to wonder if God stopped paying attention to you.

I’ve learned, though, that any inconsistencies I perceive between God and myself are not faults of His. Scriptures tell me He is a rock of stability, omnipotence and permanence. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. He cares about the big and the little things in my life. His eye is on even the sparrow and He hears every thought I have.

I’m the one who varies and wavers.

When I can’t find God, I have to retrace my steps. He didn’t go wandering off. I always find Him at the place I last encountered Him. God is right where I left Him! Maybe I stumbled at one of His commandments or let doubt leak into my mind. Sometimes the cares of life get distracting. I may float off on a raft of selfishness. Or of impatience.

Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.  Jeremiah 2:32 (KJV)

Once I return to my senses and mend my broken fellowship with the Lord — by confessing my faults — He forgives me. We pick up where I left off. If I veered away because I didn’t want to obey (like Jonah), peace flows like a river again if I follow through. What a wonderful, merciful Savior we have!

Job Didn’t Listen to His Wife

Job Didn’t Listen to His Wife

Job lost almost everything — children, health and property — in a matter of days. His life is THE case study on dealing with adversity.  You’ve heard of the patience of Job, right?

Instead of caving to the agony of his circumstances, he said, “Naked came I from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21, ESV).

In all this, Job didn’t sin or indict God foolishly. His body was smitten with sores and he sat down among the ashes. He felt confused and grief stricken. But he refused to entertain his wife’s suggestion that he curse God and die.

He said, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10, NASB)

What was up with this guy?

How did he stay anchored to God through a psychic hurricane, tsunami, and tornado combined? What did he know that we don’t?

 

Job’s secret

 

All through his life, Job walked and talked with God. The two were friends and companions; they knew each other. And Job’s suffering opened a door for him to know God even better.

Job chose, of his own free will, to keep trusting God. He could have decided to join forces with his wife, accusing God and feasting on bitterness and anger. We all have that choice when trials and tribulations come our way.

I’ve faced it, and more than once.

In the aftermath of his disaster, Job sat silent for a week. Then he started a long conversation with some friends who had gathered around him. After that, God showed up to talk to him.

What did Job learn?

  • He recognized that his human limitations made it silly to project stuff on God. God’s ways are far higher than ours.
  • When something bad happens, he found out, some people assume it’s because of something we did. (Yes, bad things can and do happen because of bad choices we make. In those cases, there’s a cause-and-effect relationship between a choice and its consequence. A consequence might be slow in coming, but it will show up.)
  • Job found out, as righteous as he was, that he was still frail, prone to deception, and in need of God’s mercy and grace.Best of all, he found out that his Redeemer lives: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye SEES You” (Job 42:5, ESV).

The book of Job ends with him forgiving his accusatory friends and asking God to forgive them, too. “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10, KJV).

 

It all turned around

 

Job journeyed through doubt, fear, and unbelief on a level few others do. He came through it with his faith intact.

Better than intact, actually.

His faith gained a depth and a richness and a stability that he wouldn’t have gained in continued ease.

On the other side of the valley, Job was a man who could be trusted with more blessings than he had before. He and God both knew that his heart was steadfast. It had been refined and forged.

And what about Job’s wife? We know that Job had 10 more children, and the rest of his life was even more blessed than before. The Bible doesn’t mention her at the end, but also doesn’t mention another wife. Can we assume she shared her husband’s happy ending? I hope so!

Job was a hero. We could use more heroes like him.

Dear Sleeping Sister . . .

Dear Sleeping Sister . . .

When I heard that you were in crisis I instantly felt a burden to pray. I still do. I’ve been talking to God about you. He’s watching over you and knows exactly what you need. He’s here for you. I’m certain of this.

I understand what it feels like to struggle to the point of nearly losing all hope. God was there for me. His love would not let me go. His love for you is no different.

God’s love is brooding over you. His love brooded over the Earth when He was about to shape it into something beautiful. He didn’t want our planet to stay formless and void. He is so creative and mighty. He wants the best possible outcome for every corner of the universe. Our souls are no exception.

Sister, God has a best outcome for your soul and for mine. Can we trust Him enough cast our entire being upon Him? Will we believe He’s willing and able to “perfect that which concerns” all of us? Can we risk it all to let Him “conform us to the image of His son”?

People getting divorced often cite “irreconcilable differences” between them as the reason for filing. Sometimes a marriage crumbles so badly it would take a miracle to repair it. The miracle would be two willing hearts. I’ve never seen a situation where two willing parties can’t find a way to reconcile with one another.

God has a willing heart. He wants to be reconciled to each of us. He sent His Son to die a horrible death on the cross. That sacrifice made it possible for us to be justified and atoned for and covered with the righteousness of the only sinless person in history – Jesus Christ.

If you are willing to reconcile with God, it will happen. I’ve seen it happen in my own life.

Reconciliation has layers.

When I’m willing to stay in the center of God’s will, I feel drawn to the other people who stay there too. The quality of your relationships with other Christians is easy to measure if you take inventory of your relationship with God. The way you feel about Him is the way you feel about anyone who has His Spirit living in them.

The Book of 1 John explains this in detail. That epistle is like a mirror that shows you what your heart looks like. “Awake up, as is right, and sin not.”

If God is my #1 priority and my first love (and I have a clear conscience and want to obey His Word), then any problem or challenge I have is manageable. I can see my part and my function as a member of Christ’s body. I can live in peace with my brothers and sisters. We’re all on the same road. But if other things begin to overtake the #1 spot in my heart, then problems with God’s people start popping up everywhere.

I’m learning to measure everything in my life by where God ranks on my list of priorities. 

Grace and peace to you, Lisa