Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Job 1:18-22 When disaster strikes. . .

This morning, as we wake and prepare for a routine day, thousands in Moore, Oklahoma, are waking up to the nightmare that is the destruction from the tornado yesterday. Since yesterday afternoon we have been seeing images of what looks like a war zone - an area of about sixty square miles that has been forever changed, almost completely wiped off the map. The direct hit to the elementary school, in particular, fills the nation with sorrow. We cannot begin to imagine the agony of those parents who sat and waited through the night for word of their children who were buried beneath the rubble...

So my thoughts turned to Job, and the enormity of his personal loss in one day. The beginning verses of the Book of Job assure us that Job was called by God “blameless and upright.” We know that, for His own sovereign reasons, God allowed Satan to wreak havoc in Job’s life - to test him. So, in one day Job hears horrible news from one messenger after another.

The first messenger tells Job that all of his 500 oxen and 500 donkeys were slain by the Sabeans, along with the servants charged with caring for them. Before the first messenger even finishes his sentence, another runs in to tell him that a fire “fell from heaven” and consumed all 7,000 of his sheep and the servants. Then a third messenger runs in to tell Job that the Chaledeans raided the 3,000 camels and the servants and slaughtered them all.

In one instant, all of his livestock, his livelihood, was gone! And while he was reeling from this news, a final messenger comes in to tell him the truly tragic news:

“Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,  and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” (Job 1:18-19 ESV)

Seeing the photos of Moore, Oklahoma, this story of Job’s devastation become more real to me. A great wind struck the house of one of his sons, and all ten of his children were buried in the rubble! It was one thing to lose all of his wealth, but Job lost ALL of his children! And we marvel at Job’s response:

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.  And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” 

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (vs.20-22)

We know that Job was to go through much more suffering and even the misfortune of having “friends” who tried to “comfort” him but ended up just pouring more salt on his wounds. Yet, at the end of his trial, which he endured with amazing patience, we see Job transformed by his new understanding of God, and he proclaims, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. . .” (Job 42:5)

My prayer is that the people of Oklahoma will see God as they never have before - that He will become so real to them as He comforts them and sends His people in to minister to them. May we be a part of that! Whether through the Salvation Army or the American Red Cross, which are already on the ground there, or through other organizations like Samaritan’s Purse or through local churches, let’s be part of the recovery with our donations - and with our prayers!

You may not be a victim of a tornado, but you may feel like your life is in ruins around you. Maybe you just heard “I want a divorce” from your spouse, or “You have cancer” from your doctor. Maybe your teenager has given you devastating news of pregnancy or drug usage or an eating disorder. Maybe your boss has said, “You’re fired.” Or maybe, like my sister, Jodi, you’ve been told that the chemotherapy has not been working, and she will now be starting another type of chemo.

Whatever the news that has completely changed your life overnight, our God is there to comfort and guide you. Pray that, like Job, you will be able to bless His name! I’m including a link here to a video that has Matt Redman’s wonderful song, “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord,” which is based on Job’s story. Watch it and enjoy the lyrics! [Note to daughters: this one is a must to be played at my funeral!!]


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