Job chapters one and two are amazing. Job chapter three is straight up depressing as seen from a humanistic perspective. We could join Job’s wife if we saw only through human lenses. We could leave off with Job’s closing complaint, “I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.”
Friends, especially here in the U.S., we have it very good! I won’t try here to make the case as strong as I’m sure you’ve heard it plenty of times, but I will argue for a lifestyle that is viewed as GIVEN and one that can be TAKEN AWAY from in any given year.
My son, Jackson, is truly in that uber sweet and adorable stage… Okay, maybe I feel he’s always been there. He’s 19 months old and just captures my heart. As I pray for his future, I’ve been praying for the essence of who he is before God. I don’t pray for prosperity. I don’t pray for him to have the best of life’s experiences. I don’t pray for him to be well liked or admired so much. I do pray for his heart toward God to be raw honest and yet trusting, that he would NEVER curse God and find his truest essence in the joyous presence of God (Psalm 21:6).
When we find our joy in God’s presence, even our nearest loved ones cannot rob our joy with their cruelest cutting jabs in times of suffering and unmerited trials like Job endures. I pray for Jackson and for Carrie and me that we would find our truest essence as defined by God.
When asked as a congregation on Sunday by my buddy Jason Rivera, “What is your identity?” One of the sweetest women I know in our body responded who has endured much suffering and relies on breathing support and a wheel chair much of her existence now, “I am a child of God!”
No one can touch our essence. If we have placed our hope in the living God, and the death of Jesus Christ is our one means of holiness and blamelessness before the Father’s throne at Judgment, we are children of God. Now, what this looks like is living out childlike dependence upon the LORD. Every decision and every sentence and every thought becomes submitted to the deep and joyous presence and goodness of our God. We become soul-dependent beings instead of “self-sufficient” – which is truly an impossibility, self- sufficient being a prideful attempt at human autonomy.
LORD, we rely upon You for our understanding of ourselves as children of God. May we, like a child on a pilgrimage with his or her Father leading the way walk as children of God. May we celebrate more every day that You are our Father and Provider, giving us not only direction but preservation most importantly of our essence as Your children. We do not prize our physical well-being so much as our eternal satisfaction found forever in You. May we live out these eternal realities on this time-bound Earth. May we demonstrate that our hearts are in Heaven with You by how we give up and give in to Your ways for the Christian’s life more every day. May our lives look more like selling all we have and serving others than building earthly kingdoms of temporary pleasures when those are not where we find our deepest joys.
We delight in the light of Your Word, Your Spirit, and the joy radiating from one another’s reflection of Your joy. We together celebrate You as we love one another and reach out to show Your grace to a dying world.
Much love, friends.