Thursday, June 21, 2007

A little heart-to-heart with the Lord

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Job 29, 30, 31

Job 31:35-37 (NIV)

35 Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense – let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put His indictment in writing. 36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder; I would put it on like a crown. 37 I would give Him an account of my every step; like a prince I would approach Him.

Good morning!

Do you ever spend time having a little heart-to-heart conversation with the Lord? My heart-to-heart talks with God do not mirror Job’s. He must have been a holy man, someone near and dear to God’s heart. I wish I could pray the prayers of Job. When I begin to take a serious look at my mistakes, they overwhelm me. Job never tried to secretly hide his sins away from the public’s eye. He was ready and willing to confess any infraction that would have offended God. Job continued to search his heart, and found himself begging the Lord for just one recollection of one failed moment that he could tag as the result of his early pain and suffering. I should have taken Job’s suffering. He certainly didn’t deserve it.

Was Job being punished? And if he was being punished, what was his crime? As I look back through my 30 years of marriage to Jeff, the time we spent at seminary and in the various churches we have served in Texas and Missouri, there were moments when we truly felt like we were being punished. I remember the time when Jeff contracted hepatitis in seminary. Rachel was only four months old when Jeff became a patient in a Dallas, Texas hospital, 50 miles from our home. He was sicker than I’ve ever seen him. That year felt like a never-ending punishment to me – we were 750 miles away from our family and friends. He was 22 years old. I didn’t understand why this was happening, and I don’t presume to understand it now. I can tell you, after having lived through it, our compassions for the sick and suffering was magnified by our own personal experience. We understand how it feels because we have experienced it in our life.

I remember a conversation I had with a well-intentioned church member not long after our son David was born. He and I had ongoing health issues that would require surgical intervention to fix, short of an instantaneous healing by the Lord. We were struggling to figure out how to deal with these new difficulties. Our parishioner basically told me that if I had more faith, I wouldn’t be having these problems. Don’t you wonder how Job felt when his friends told him basically the same thing?

There is no rhyme or reason to the tragedies we experience along life’s walk. Good people get hurt every single day; some of them are walking saints, and they struggle, just like you and I, with adversity and pain. Does this mean that God is punishing them for some sin they may have committed and not confessed? I hardly think so. I have friends who are bitter because they blame God for their life’s pain. There was a time long ago when I shook a holy fist at the Lord. The amazing thing about God’s love and grace is that He allows us to express our anger and pain – He listens to us as we cry out to Him for help. Whenever I feel totally abandoned and overwhelmed in grief, that is when God holds me in His arms and He refuses to let go. The Father could have let me walk away from Him in disillusionment and bitterness, but His plan for my life included a season to struggle and wrestle with the things of faith. He calls each of us to look beyond our past and present circumstances and choose whether or not we will love Him in spite of those trying moments.

Sometimes when I become angry with my children, I might say, “I still love you, but I don’t like you very much right now.” The Lord of life allows me to say the same thing to Him, and He forgives me when I deserve it the least. I can shake a holy fist at God, until I find myself standing at the foot of the cross and recognize just how much He suffered to save my life. Every drop of His blood was spilt so that we could finally be free from the pain and despair that comes from separation and sin. Can you imagine the kind of love the Lord God Almighty has for you? Isn’t it amazing that He would die just for your salvation? It places the struggles we endure here on earth in a proper perspective. We are only here for a short time, and it is through the adversities of life that we truly begin to see the Lord’s face. When we choose to say “I love you” no matter what may come and trust Him to lead us, we begin to scrape the surface of what agape love truly means.

Do you need to have a heart-to-heart talk with the Lord today? Jesus is waiting for you to come home to Him. Don’t hold back. Give Him everything you’ve got. Let Him have your pain, your tears, your hurt, your anger, your bitterness, your messed up life. Give it all to Him. He can give you a newness of life that will totally transform the way you walk and talk and live and love. There is life abundant in Christ Jesus, my Savior and Lord. He will not leave you or forsake you, even when you find yourself suffering like His servant Job.

Have a heart-to-heart with the Lord today. You will be glad you did.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: courage to give the Lord your life. He will take our every wound and cover it with His blood, once and for all. There is an indescribable peace that comes from knowing the Lord is with you, especially in the tough stuff. He offers you a new life today. Won’t you ask Him to be your Savior?


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