A Montrose Church Lent Devotional by Pastor Rick
Lent Day 7
Today's reading: Job 1:1-22
Lent is a journey of preparation before Easter. During the forty days of Lent many Christians give themselves to periods of fasting, confession, introspection, self-denial and spiritual discipline. At the center of it all is to set aside time where a person can come apart from the business of life for reflection on Jesus - his suffering, sacrifice, life, death, burial, and resurrection. We are brought face to face with humanity at its worst, and we come, again, into the embrace of God and witness His amazing grace and mercy and love. When life has thrown its worst at us, God throws His heart open wide to us.
Today we look at life at it worst through the story of Job. When chapter one of Job ends, this man has suffered the loss of his possessions and his ten children. Life has hit him so hard that he enters into a time of mourning. At one point he falls to the ground, one would think to cry out to God, "Why?" Instead, Job falls to the ground, "in worship" (Job 1:20). He is hurting. He is grieving. He is broken. Yet, "Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing" (Job 1:22).
In these days there are a lot of atheists who have embraced their faith, based upon the fact of pain and suffering in the world. Job’s experience, however, didn’t drive him away from God but to God. Somehow, in those most painful moments, Job had a clarity about life to which we do well to pay attention. He prayed,
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken way; may the name of the Lord be praised.
- Job 1:21
In the first Beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Blessed are those people who know they are actually paupers in this world, spiritually broken and destitute. Blessed are those people who know that they are not the center of the universe. Blessed are those people who know that without God they are nothing. Blessed are those people who can say, "I brought nothing into the world with me when I was born, and I will take nothing with me when I die." Blessed are those who embrace the kingdom of God in their lives and who live by the provision of God and His amazing grace.
I pray that neither you nor I will ever suffer the way Job did, but I also pray that should this be the way life unfolds for us, that we will not run from God but to God, "in worship." I pray that we will never believe that God has forsaken us, that God doesn’t care, or that God has left us alone. He hasn’t. Job’s story gets even worse than that part of it revealed in chapter one, yet all throughout He clings to God. In Lent, that’s what we do – we cling to God. When nothing is making sense, when the pain is intense, and when life seems to be falling apart, we cling to God, and in the clinging, we discover that God is already clinging to us.
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