She Walks in Renewal - Part 2
The Unrelenting Tide
Recently, our family took a bike ride along the Monterey coastline. We were captivated by the enormous waves that constantly crashed against the rocky shore. Contemplating this natural phenomenon as I rode the shoreline, I couldn’t help but draw my mind to several aspects of God’s character and the past year of incessant bad news. My thoughts then were taken to Scripture and the Biblical record of a man’s relentless pain and trial - God's servant Job.
Reading in the first chapter of Job, you find a barrage of messages to Job when the first messenger comes in verse 14 with the news that all of his donkeys and servants were killed by a Sabean attack. While this messenger was still speaking, another servant came and said fire fell from heaven and burned up all his sheep and servants…. While this messenger was still speaking, another one comes to say a raid had been made on his camels by the Chaldeans and all of his servants killed in the raid….and again while this servant was still speaking, another one came and told Job of a strong wind that came out of the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house where his ten children were eating and drinking, and they were killed by the fall.
Does this constant string of devastating news sound familiar… maybe somewhat like 2020 and now the early part of 2021 - a relentless tide of bad news, of unspeakable loss, of continuing sorrow, of unending pain - you feel this continuous beating like the waves against the rocks. It's been hard to catch your breath before some other bad news accosts you.
In my pondering and meditations of this story over the years, I have found much comfort and challenge in Job’s scenario. So what is comforting about a man’s plot of devastation, ruin, and extreme loss?
I believe we need to cast our minds back to the relentless waves crashing against the shoreline, which also tell another story - a story of a Creator Who made these powerful waves and controls their consistency but can also hold them back if He determines it.
We have the book of Job to tell us that God filters everything that comes into our lives through His hand and will. Does He orchestrate the devastation? No. Could He prevent it? Yes. Do we long for God to hold back the relentless waves of destruction? Most definitely. But He chose not to hold them back for Job, nor does He always choose to do this for us. Yet, oh to have the faith of Job to respond as he does at the end of the discourse of bad tidings! “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
The answer to devastation, ruin, and loss is a renewal of our faith, a renewal of where our hope is resting! An answer of praise to God because He is the source of everything we have here on earth. Praise to the ONE Who holds together our existence! (Col.1:16-17) Praise to the One Who gives us His presence through times of trial and heartache! (Psalm 34:18) Let these truths about God provide your soul with comfort and hope!
Job discovers such wonderful insights about God and himself as he sits in the ashes of his once life. At the end of the book, coming out of his trial, Job says this to God, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” He glorifies God in his devastation and loss because he sees a mighty working of God that without his trial, he would otherwise have missed. I also find great comfort and hope in this specific account because it shows a God Who knows Job by name and considers him worthy of this test of faith as well as attentive to his sorrow and destruction by Satan's hand. Find hope in your God Who is attentive to your trouble. And take comfort in His guiding and restraining hand that will never allow anything into your life that isn't filtered first through Him.
Has 2020-21 held devastation and loss? Yes. Has God ceased to be in control over these troubled times? No. Does your faith need to be renewed? What is God desiring to show you of Himself through these difficult seasons? Let’s walk in a renewed faith!