SUNSHINE IN THE CLOUDS (SPRINKLES OF GRACE)
Don’t you just love the Book of Job? I can hear your response now, “Are you crazy? The majority of what Job said is complaints, and who enjoys listening to a chronic complainer?”
Job started off well following a dump truck of losses. He lost his children, possessions and health in rapid fire succession, then said forthrightly, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21
Then reality came home. Job felt miserable physically: “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.” Job 19:20 He had a wife and three “friends” who condemned him. God was somewhere above the clouds of his circumstances. Job developed what we might call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To make matters worse, Job slipped a cog and nursed a chip on the shoulder. Most of Job’s writings reflect his bad attitude, especially toward God. He got to thinking he had done everything right, and God had done him wrong.
However, there were a few choice morsels of sunshine that slipped through the clouds as God gave Job a glimmer of hope while he was in the throes of despair. Consider these words Job said.
“Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.” Job 10:12
“With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” Job 12:13
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Job 13:15
“If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” Job 14:14
“Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high. My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God. Oh that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!” Job 16:19-21
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27
“He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
“I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12b
“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28
Here is hope for the day, the year and the life. Job understood God would give him a listening ear. He saw God as wise and strong. Having aligned himself with God’s principles, Job realized God would defend him in His court. As the Holy Spirit illumined his mind further, Job stated his creed of faith: a Redeemer was going to plead his cause on some distant day in the future after he died. Job grasped he personally would be present for this event, in his body, as he considered what looked like imminent death approaching, given his current physical condition. The enormity of this engulfed Job and gave him light in his darkness. After this most delicious morsel of food for his soul, his outlook improved. He was able to say in so many words, “I matter to God. He is purifying me. I’m ready for some more soul food. God’s words count for my soul more than food for my stomach. Purpose for living comes from departing from evil.”
I read Job whenever some hardship comes in my life that seems overwhelming. I have a tendency to want to justify myself when anything goes wrong. I am constantly striving to follow Paul’s instruction in Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
At one point Job cried out and said, “Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever!” Job 19:23-24 Thankfully, God answered Job’s prayer, and we can read the Book of Job when we need a spoonful of faith or when we need to reset our spiritual perspective button. Flowers growing in the ground stand out and proclaim beauty to our eyes because their surroundings are drab. These nuggets of gold in scripture are sprinkles of grace. Spread them around lavishly!
By Shirley Logsdon