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Pursue Lasting Growth

Published 7/29/19

Read Job 5:8-11

"As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number: he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety."


Reflect

• Are you willing to wait patiently as you bring your requests to God?

• Why is it important to not expect immediate answers?

• What are some ways that you can let go and trust God--even when your circumstances don't make sense?


In today's passage, we find that Eliphaz told Job to appeal to God, laying his cause before Him. And he reminded his friend that the Lord's ways are good and just but that they don't always conform to human expectations. Finally, some good advice!


The book of Isaiah echoes a similar theme, quoting God this way: " 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts' " (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Yet Eliphaz was preaching to the choir. Job knew these truths all too well. In fact, the man described as "blameless and upright" had learned that as we pray and appeal to our heavenly Father, we must be prepared to wait. And that's exactly what Job was trying to do--it's just that the pain was clouding his judgment.


We can learn at least two lessons from Job's circumstances:

Sometimes, we must wait--even when it hurts. God has promised to speak to our hearts, so we can expect Him to, but He is not compelled to tell us everything we want to know the moment we desire the information. God may take His time speaking. By causing us to wait, He prepares us for His answer, which we may have missed had He spoken immediately. We have to be prepared to listen, and we must be patient as God molds our character.


As popular author Henry T. Blackaby points out, these times may draw out and stretch our faith. "[God] will take whatever time is necessary to grow your character to match His assignment for you. . . . Character building can be long and painful. It took twenty-five years before God entrusted Abraham with his first son and set in motion the establishment of the nation of Israel. Yet God was true to His Word."


But at all times, we must surrender every doubt, every desire, every struggle to God. Here's what C. S. Lewis tells us about giving up control and surrendering ourselves to Jesus:


The almost impossible thing is to hand over your whole self--all your wishes and precautions--to Christ. But it is far easier than what you are trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is remain what we call "ourselves," to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be "good." We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way--centered on money or pleasure or ambition--and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do.


Pray

Lord, I don't always understand the difficult times I encounter--the hurt, the temptations, the trials--but I will trust You, Lord Jesus. I know that You hear my prayer and that You care. Amen.


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