Instead Of

I’m finding the best part of Bevere’s book is the 30-day devotional guide at the back. He directs you to read a portion of a chapter, then leads you through a short, relatable devotional, very practical and forward moving in dealing with offense.

Day 11 entitled Hiding from Reality has this quote:

Offense blocks spiritual growth, but suffering and obedience take us to a deeper relationship with the Lord and with others.

This quote aligns well with the one I posted about on August 4: “If you stay free from offense, you will stay in the will of God.” Staying clear of offense isn’t only freeing; it also allows growth to continue. The truth is we grow from suffering (Joseph, Esther, Daniel, Peter, Elijah). What the enemy baits us to do is run from the suffering, or at least be distracted from the growth by focusing on the hurt or the ones guilty of causing it.

It’s quite possible that God has allowed the enemy to shower us with suffering. Think Job. Satan thought he could break him. Satan was wrong. The end result was Job’s deeper trust in God.

So how does our obedience play out in these moments? It could be that we…

  • …stay instead of run
  • …face instead of ignore
  • …wait instead of hurry
  • …listen instead of ramble
  • …submit instead of control
  • …rest instead of worry

If you’ve been feeling stunted or blocked in your spiritual growth, maybe it’s time to check your obedience, time to give up the bait.

The Answer to Why

“For the thing I feared has overtaken me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I cannot relax or be still; I have no rest, for trouble comes.” ‭‭

Those are some telling words at the end of Job 3.  It’s as if he is saying, “I knew this was going to happen.”  That’s a scary way to live. And that explains all his questions in this chapter as he cursed the day he was born. Understandably, he is very down, probably quite depressed. And who could blame him.

Seven of his questions start with the word “why.” When we find ourselves asking why, we most likely need to pause and ask ourselves why are we asking why. In his case, these two verses seem to give us the answer. What he feared has overtaken him, he is weary, he can’t relax. He wants to know why.

Is it possible that God allows these moments in life in order to redirect our fear back to him? 

  • When we lose that dream job?
  • When the “C” word is heard for the second or third time?
  • When she means it this time?
  • When the last shovel of dirt covers the casket?

Sounds cruel, maybe harsh, even unloving. Yet, by the end of this book, that is the realization Job has come to. His fear of God, his awe was restored as a result of this time in his life. His rest returned when he found the answer to why in the person of God.

Who Gets the Blame?

Had a bad day recently? In your life, what’s the hardest day you ever survived?

It’s hard to imagine a day much worse for anyone than the one described in Job 1. By the end of the chapter, Job had received four messages by surviving servants of four, life-shattering events. Between these events, Job lost 11,000 sheep, donkeys, camels and oxen as well as all ten of his children. 

That’s a lot to lose in one day. Overwhelming. One would probably want retaliation or at the least some explanation. Surely there is an explanation, someone to hold accountable. However, even if he knew, he didn’t have any resources to do anything about it. So what did Job do. Here’s what the last verse of the chapter says:

“Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭1:22‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

How is that possible? How does one lose everything and not sin? How does one react purely to devastation?

The answer is found in the relationship Job and God enjoyed before this overwhelming day. They regularly communicated giving Job the strength to live “blameless and upright.” God described Job to Satan as “one who fears me and shuns evil.”

This is the answer to why Job said after receiving these messages, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.” Job never claimed ownership of his stuff, and he never blamed God for doing wrong by him. He recognized God had blessed him with it and had now allowed it to be taken away. And he chose to say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”