7 steps towards Job’s restoration

twisted branchesWhy did I not die at birth, Come forth from the womb and expire? Job 3:1

From wealth to poverty,
From family to dead children,
From health to near death,
From honor to judgment,
From joy to agony,
From expectation to hopelessness,
From God’s pride to Satan’s plunder,
Job blessed the name of the Lord.

In agony, Job grieved loss.
In pain, he scraped boils.
In patience, he endured friend’s chastening.
In love, he rebuked his wife.

In hopelessness, Job cried “Why?”

“Even today my complaint is rebellion;
His hand is heavy despite my groaning.
“Oh that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might come to His seat!
“I would present my case before Him
And fill my mouth with arguments.
“I would learn the words which He would answer,
And perceive what He would say to me. Job 23:2-5

In power and love, God spoke.

 “Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,” Job 38:3-4

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
So that an abundance of water will cover you?
“Can you send forth lightnings that they may go
And say to you, ‘Here we are’?
“Who has put wisdom in the innermost being
Or given understanding to the mind?
“Who can count the clouds by wisdom,
Or tip the water jars of the heavens,
When the dust hardens into a mass
And the clods stick together? Job 38:33-38

In awe, Job repented.

Then Job answered the Lord and said,
“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? ’
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me. ’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.” Job:42:1-6

In mercy, God instructed.

It came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job. The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. Job 42:7-10

7 steps towards restoration

  1. Loss. Wealth, children, and health were considered to be God’s blessings to the righteous. Job lost all of these, and he lost honor as a righteous follower of God. He thought that God had taken His blessings from Job. Yet, he said, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
  2. Helplessness. Although Job’s friends told him how he could work his way out of his tribulation, Job knew within himself that he was helpless to change his situation. He knew that the only answer was God.
  3. Why me? Job thought that God took everything away from him, and he questioned why it happened to him. He wanted God to answer to him. Job wanted God to justify why this happened to Job.
  4. Longing for God. Although Job’s friends sat beside him, he felt isolated. He longed for God to speak to him. From the pit of despair, Job turned his eyes up to God, longing for His Word.
  5. Focus on God’s magnificence. Job listened to God, focused on His creation, His power, his magnificence. When Job’s focus turned from his problems to the works of God, he lost sight of his small problems.
  6. Repentance and service. Job confessed that he had not understood God, and that he had misrepresented God. God instructed Job’s friends to offer a sacrifice and ask Job to pray for them, and Job prayed for them.
  7. Restoration. After Job prayed for his friends, God accepted Job. “Accepted” literally means that God “lifted up the face of” Job. Close your eyes and imagine God touching your chin with His finger and lifting your face toward His face. God also restored Job’s wealth, his family, and his health, not back to the way it was before, but twofold.

pine treeMy prayer for you:

Almighty God, You, alone, are worthy. You, alone, are Creator. You, alone, are in control of our lives. We long for Your Word, Your Presence, Your Son. Restore Your followers. We come before You in repentance and humility. We wait upon You, O Lord.

What if we lived in hope? 5 steps toward hope

Creation-Vatican

“If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—no wonder my words have been impetuous. The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshaled against me. … “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life! Then I would still have this consolation—my joy in unrelenting pain—that I had not denied the words of the Holy One. “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me? Job 6:10-13

The Bible has 180 references to hope. Some of those refer to the lack of hope like Job’s. I’ve been without hope. Although Job was with friends when he said this, he was lonely in his pain; he wanted God to cut off his life, so that he would not betray God.

Have you been hopeless?

I’ve found five things that have helped me when I was in the pit of despair.

  1. Call out to God. David writes in Psalm 30, a Psalm for the dedication of the temple, “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. … weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Frequently, David detailed his troubles to God. The troubles turned to praise once David saw how small his problems were in comparison with how big God is.
  2. Wait on God. “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 In this microwave society, I find it difficult to wait. Yet, in waiting for God to act, I learn to trust Him for His provision as the Israelites waited each morning for God to provide the mana.
  3. Choose  hope.“This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”  II Chronicles 20:15  If God Almighty is fighting my battle over disease and pain, then I choose to hope in Him.
  4. Consume the Scriptures. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 Two years before the Lord healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, He impressed my husband, Keith, and me that He would heal me. We saturated our thinking with the Scriptures on healing and promises as well as books written about healing.
  5. Expect God to work.“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:45 When Mary entered the home of Elizabeth (6 months pregnant with John), John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb, and Ellizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said this. Mary took God at His word. He said it; He would do it.

Call, wait, choose, consume, expect.

These are active verbs that anticipate a response, an action. Isn’t that what hope is all about?

What if we lived in hope–in anticipation of God working?

My prayer for you:

Father of hope and action, You are a gracious God, pouring out Your blessing upon Your children. May we cry out to you, waiting and choosing to hope in Your abundant love. Teach us to consume Your word and to expect Your promises in our lives. Thank You, Father, for all that You are, all that You do, and all that You love.