There is Promise in Pain (Week Eleven)

Week Eleven Study Overview: Today, we will discuss the manipulation of the enemy while enduring crisis as we study Job’s discourse on the wicked.

Key Point of Struggle: Why does it seem that people who reject God live without scars?

Key Proof of Comfort: Psalm 118:19

We have finally hit the halfway point in the book of Job! The story of his life is so alive to me, and though I look forward to progressing through the study, I’ll be sad when we turn the last page.

  • Today’s reading is Job chapters 20 and 21. If you haven’t read those, now would be a great time!

In chapter 20 we see Zophar give his second argument, which once again condemns Job, declaring him guilty of wickedness. There was no consideration for anything Job said to defend himself thus far. After this, in chapter 21 Job speaks about how he feels regarding the wicked, and then it seems he goes onto mock them for their belief systems.

There are two verses in particular I want to pull out of chapter 21.  Let’s discuss the first.

Why do the wicked live and become old, yes, become mighty in power?

-Job 21:7

This is definitely a key point of struggle for me. I’ve watched family members, who know and love Jesus, leave this earth way too soon. I’ve sat in the middle of tragedy watching others who reject God live seemingly unscathed. The truth is, no one lives unharmed by the evil of this world, and it’s not for me to judge hearts. It’s also not my job to critique God’s decisions. Only God knows why. In my opinion, the question Job presents as he’s replying to Zophar’s views is a fine line to walk. The enemy is a master manipulator, and he wants nothing more than for us to question God’s wisdom in all circumstances. He wants us to feel rejected without cause, not only by people, but also by God.

Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend about this very subject. When we are hurting, it is way too easy to look at the circumstances of others and judge their lives based on our own insecurities and despair. We want what they have, and so we rationalize why we deserve it more. It’s rather scary, because many emotions, especially rejection, can evoke these feelings. From dire financial needs to needing healing, wanting a child, marriage, or even a best friend can take us down roads leading to sin. If we aren’t aware of the enemy’s manipulation, we won’t even recognize we’re heading there until we arrive. In our own battle to defend ourselves against rejection, we only end up rejecting others, and ultimately hurting ourselves.

There are two more questions posed by Job in verse 15. In this verse, he is actually mocking the wicked by quoting how they might think.

Who is the Almighty that we should serve Him? And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?

-Job 21:15

I believe it is perfectly okay to ask God questions, as long as we don’t stay in that place expecting to receive and understand all the answers. Sometimes, peace comes through whispers of promise inside pain. It’s about learning to breathe in the scary spaces rather than receiving direct, definitive answers as to why we landed there in the first place. At some point, “faith mode” must override “question mode.” When we stay overly inquisitive for too long, the possibility of asking questions like we see in verse 15 grows greater and greater.

Our questions should be designed to lead us closer to God, not further from Him.

We live in a society where everyone’s lives are on display. If we aren’t very careful, social media statuses and the pictures that go along with them can leave us hungry for what others have. And here’s the thing you might not want to hear: what we feel as a result of what others seem to have, or how they live their lives, very rarely has anything to do with them. It almost always has everything to do with us! Ouch. I know. We all have issues to work through, so let’s start working.

Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, and I will praise the Lord

-Psalm 118:19

I memorized this scripture last year. The Psalmist’s words in this particular passage bring me great comfort. I refuse to allow unfit emotions, which usually prove nothing more than manipulation from the enemy, dictate my life. I reject self-pity and accept God’s best for me.  I will continually ask the God who I know sees me to open up His gates of righteousness that I may walk through them with praise on my lips. It is within that space where I will find my comfort. And, friend, you’ll find it there, too.

  • Please read Psalm 118, and in your journal, write down the parts of this chapter that speak to you regarding whatever situation you find yourself battling.
  • Next week’s reading is Job chapters 22-24.

I’m looking forward to discussing this further on this week’s #WordforYourWeekend subscriber only content. If you’ve not subscribed yet, you’re only an email address away from deeper study!

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

The Killer Named Comparison.

"Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Do you ever wonder how one day you can feel so encouraged about something happening in your life and the next day feel as if everything is collapsing? Has someone else’s opinion of you held so much value that you wanted to give up based on how they think of you?

God wasn’t kidding when He placed the following scripture on my heart as a theme for 2013.

Galatians 1:10

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. (N.K.J.V.)

My ministry is growing. God is moving in the interworking of my heart and maturing me in the knowledge of Him. However, by nature, I tend to be a people pleaser. I loathe this about myself. My only concern should be pleasing God, never man.

Last night at the women’s study I teach we discussed the issue of comparison. In this day and age, comparison amongst women is at a heightened level. Women are under a microscope. Not only do men look at women, but women look at other women. We compare ourselves against each other from everything including body types to income levels. And social media is escalating these issues.

Via the outlet of social media we have the power to tell everyone how wonderful our lives are, even when they are not. We can post pictures that are not current and make everyone on our “friends” list think we look amazing for our ages. Thanks to social media, women everywhere are comparing themselves against a facade.

I’ve recently had some conversations with hurting women based on the rejection they felt from being “unfriended.” If people do not like what we say or how we live our lives they just hit a button and we disappear from their view. Poof, we never existed.

I’m not saying social media is bad. I use it and there are many facets I LOVE about it. However, it is one more thing to guard our hearts against. So, based on some conversations from others and based on my blogging experience regarding the drastic difference between people who love my messages and hate my messages, this is what I’ve surmised.

  • I am still a friend of God regardless of who “unfriends” me on Facebook.
  • I follow Jesus and He will never quit leading me regardless of who chooses to “follow” or “unfollow” me on Twitter.
  • I am going to continue to post what I feel God wants me to write regardless of who subscribes or unsubscribed to my blog.
  • God created me. My only concern should be pleasing Him and living the life He wants me to live.

If you are someone who struggles with rejection and/or comparison issues, I want to tell you that God will never reject you. He only wants for you to love and serve Him. The more you look to Jesus, the less you will look at yourself or others in the same light. Keep on keeping on, sisters!

Do you have these struggles? How are you working to apply Galatians 1:10 in your life?