Most of my afflictions have been “momentary” and later, I understood them all or with time, accepted them. I can’t say any of my troubles could compare to Job’s and if I’m honest, nor does my unwavering trust.
My choices waver at times, not so much like altogether abandoning my faith; but, like the rich man who couldn’t imagine choosing to follow over keeping all the wealth he had.
And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'”
And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.”
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. – Luke 18:18-23
Sometimes I’m sorrowful over my sorry state of mind and lack of solid pressing forward.
When Jesus told the rich man what he needed to go beyond just being good, it was more than he wanted to hear; I believe he was looking for one more commandment, maybe a new one he could boast about his adherence.
Instead, Jesus asked him to sacrifice.
He asked him give what he treasured, asked him to give up the thing he measured his worth, his value by.
When Jesus tells me to do something or to do without something, it’s obviously not a tap on the shoulder or a verbal command.
It’s more a stirring, sometimes unpleasant and others exhilarating over what my life might be if I gave my all, gave Him my all.
When that soul stirring says “change” “surrender” “give up” or “give all” it’s a call to follow, to come and see how my life might be.
Mostly, I meander and the hard truth is I often ignore and it’s sort of secretive. Only God and me know, how I might be different were I to choose differently.
Then comes the sorrow, the sorrow we label loosely in other, more understandable ways.
Calling it humility, doubt or disappointment because we don’t want to call it what it is, disobedience.
Doubt somehow is easier on the heart, feels more allowable and forgiving like mercy or grace.
Like the Proverbs verse about the dog returning to his vomit, I’m prone to patterns I know, mostly in my thinking, thankfully.
Job chose a different path than the rich ruler. Both had a whole lot. The rich ruler lost nothing, Job everything.
Job refused to curse God. The rich ruler by his refusal to let go of all his riches, essentially did.
Both were sorrowful. Both were tested. One held fast to God, the other to His riches.
And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” – Job 2:3
Job lost property and children and did not blame God.
Chapter 2 has a header in my Bible that says “Satan Attacks Job’s Health”. Job’s wife watches as he breaks a pot to alleviate the pain and presence of sores, scraping desperately over the toxic wounds now covering his entire body.
She tells him he should curse God and die.
Job replies that her talk is foolish and reminds her we shouldn’t expect good from God only, that we might experience bad, we might experience evil even.
In the midst of our suffering God is still working, will we hold fast and trust Him?
I wonder how the rich ruler continued on. I’d love to know that he reconsidered his riches, that his cycle of security through wealth was somehow harshly broken.
And that when he had nothing of his own making, he believed Jesus and was made new.
This world is not our home, nor all the stuff we pile up round our rooms or anxiously work to acquire and feel we are finally enough.
But, eternity and the riches of heaven, oh my goodness, it is ours for the asking and while heaven can never be here on earth, it’s so very much closer in and around us when keep what we need, our faith and care so very little about the things that are just “the rest”.
God honored Job’s integrity, gave him and his family back all that had been taken. His days continued, they were full with so much more because he accepted what was taken, all.
And Job died, an old man, and full of days. – Job 42:17