– 8/8/18 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
I must say that Judy and I were a bit overwhelmed but very encouraged by the many who responded to my last blog concerning our oldest son Jamie. Family, as well as many friends (some we have not seen or been in contact with for quite some time) called, posted on Facebook, sent texts, wrote emails, all sending their support, their love, and letting us know that they were praying for our family during this time.
For many, they were living out the very Words of God to us… Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
An update on Jamie, as I mentioned last week, he is 100% cancer free. His doctors still find it hard to believe that the huge tumor that was taken out of Jamie’s face was not cancerous. Before the operation they had already prepared Jamie and Shannon that there would be many weeks of cancer treatments. The doctors were so baffled with the outcome that they took Jamie’s results to a “tumor committee” to do further testing and study.
Jamie still has one eye that does not close completely and he still does not have feeling on one side of his face, but the doctors are pretty confident that both the eye and the nerves will return back to normal within time. Jamie also returned back to work yesterday so he is on the path to recovery, and for that we are thankful to God and to our many friends who prayerfully interceded for us!
As I was thinking through the activity of the past few days, I thought how easy it is to be thankful when God’s plan lines up with mine. How easily the words flow from our lips… “Isn’t God good?” “Isn’t it wonderful what God has done?” or whatever terminology you use when you and God agree on answered prayer.
How easily the words flow from our lips…
“Isn’t God good?”
Yet do our words change when God doesn’t do what we want or expect Him to do? Would my thoughts of God change if Jamie’s face was full of cancer? Would we have been just as excited about God’s will for our son if God’s will did not line up with our will?
The Holy Spirit then took my thoughts to what I consider to be one of the most amazing men in the Bible. Life could not have been going any better for this person: he had a great relationship with God, he was rich, he had a big family, he had just about everything his world had to offer. Even God describes this man like this: “He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.”
And then one day, everything changed… One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” Job 1:13-19
Wow! When I think about Job, if I were to combine every big and little trial that has entered into my life over my 64 years of existence, it doesn’t come close to what happened to Job in just a matter of minutes. I have been praying that God would spare the life of one son when Job lost ALL of his children.
One might think that Job would scream out in pain, that he might shake his fist at God. One might even think that Job would say something like I did when, at the age of 11 years old, our daughter Heather almost died, “God how could you do this to us, after we have given up everything to serve you?”
Yet the first reaction of Job to the circumstances of that moment was anything but that! Instead Job broke out in worship… At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Job 1:20-22
Job worships, not in despair, but in reverence, in respect and honor to God. You might be thinking ‘How does that happen?’ Well, it begins with the heart and then it becomes supernatural…. For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalm 73:26
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Total transparency here; I would much rather worship God when He does something for us like He did in the life of Jamie, than I would when God does what He did in the life of Job. Yet isn’t that what God expects from all of us? Too often we look at God based on what He does instead of who He is. God is just as loving, just as sovereign, just as kind, just as powerful, just as Holy, just as righteous when He acted in Jamie’s life as He was when He acted in Job’s life. And how do I know that, God said so… “I the LORD do not change.” Malachi 3:6
Too often we look at God based on what He does instead of who He is.
God doesn’t change whether or not I approve of what He does. God doesn’t change whether He chooses to makes my life easy or difficult. God doesn’t change. Period! My response to what happens to me is not an indictment of God, it is more an indication of my heart… For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34
Listen to one of my favorite hymns, written by a very devout Christian man, but a man who lost his only son to scarlet fever, who saw his vast fortune evaporate in the great Chicago Fire, and then lost his four daughters in an accident at sea. Listen to his heart as the words he penned, are sung in a very unique way…
Our life will not be determined by what happens to us, as much as it will be determined by how we choose to respond to what happens to us. Choose well my friends!