3rd Sunday of Advent
When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going . . .
Text: Job 1:6-22
Gone. All of it. All of it was gone. People who experience tragedy sometimes say that going through it is surreal, almost like living in a dream. Job was stuck in a nightmare that he could not wake up from.
A messenger ran to Job. It wasn’t good news. The Sabeans from Arabia had attacked and stolen all his oxen and donkeys and killed all the servants watching them. That might not seem too awful to us, but Job had 1,000 oxen and 500 donkeys. That was a lot of wealth and livelihood taken, and it would have been a lot of servants killed.
While the shock of losing money and friends was still settling in, a second messenger ran to Job. It wasn’t good news. Fire had fallen from skies and burned up all his sheep and the servants watching them. That might not seem too awful to us, but Job had 7,000 sheep. That was a lot of wealth and livelihood taken, and it would have been a lot of servants killed.
How could this be? On the same day? What would he do now? All these animals were so important to working and providing food and clothing! All these servants were so important to making his life go! Well at least his camels . . . Read the rest of this entry
Text: Job 7:1-7
Maybe you’ve gone through some rough spots in your life. Likely, the older you are the more you can reflect back on those tougher times that you’ve been through. And the older you are, the more you recognize when life is truly “tough” (As opposed to the teenage girl thinking her life is over because Johnny didn’t ask her to prom.)
Most of us would be hard pressed to argue that we’ve ever had a rougher go than Job. Job lost pretty much everything. His 10 children died. His house was destroyed. His possessions were taken. Even his health was gone. Today’s devotion is a little vignette from Job’s struggles.
The book of Job itself is fascinating. He goes back and forth, up and down from despair to trust, from doubt to faith. Today we hear Job veering toward the ditch of doubt and despair.
When things are tough in our lives, it may be easy for us to veer toward the ditch of doubt and despair as well. We may feel like things could never get better. We may feel like God has forgotten about us, doesn’t care about us, or is angry with us.
This Sunday is very important to us struggling humans then! This week we will hear in worship how our powerful God works in our lives–even through troubles–so that all things are for our good. Even the lowest moments of our lives we can trust as being allowed by God and worked by God for our good.
What a joy and comfort to have a God who is wise enough and powerful enough to work all things for our good!
Prayer: Lord God heavenly Father, many times in my life I struggle and suffer like Job. Help me to trust that you are always with me, always providing what I need, and always working all things for my good. Lead me each step through this life of troubles until I reach my heavenly home. Amen.
Devotion Text: Jonah 4:5-11
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away… These are the words Job uttered with his face in the dirt after losing everything he had in the world. His children, vast wealth and health were gone and he had the faith to say, “the name of the Lord be praised.”
I am angry enough to die… These are the words that Jonah spat into the face of God with arms crossed and brow furrowed when a shade-giving plant died. Jonah was already sitting there moping because Nineveh was spared.
I submit to you that we take the route of Jonah more often than that of Job when we lose that which is dear to us. Just as God provided the vine for Jonah, he has given us everything we see, know and love. Over and above anything we have in this world, God has given us forgiveness; forgiveness that came a steep price… the life of his own son.
Always remember the love your God has already shown for you. In faith we can say with Job, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. The name of the Lord be praised.” Trust in your God, he will provide for you in all situations from his amazing love.