Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 1/21/10

Job's Complaint, William Blake

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”
Job 19:25-27

His life had collapsed all around him, crumbling to the earth as everything just seemed to fall apart and he was left with this lingering feeling of hurt and pain, sorrow and anguish as it all seemed to overtake his soul, Job looked at the life he once had and the life he now lived and there could be little doubt that the darkness lingered in him. It was all ripped away from him, family and fortune, possessions and health, even his wife and his friends, they seemed eager to turn on him when he had nothing. In their mind nothing could explain his fall except that somehow he had incurred the wrath of God, and as his wife would tell him, with everything gone, there was nothing left to him but to “curse God, and die.” (Job 2:9)

His life was in ruins, and it was so apparent that he was lost and alone, the peace he once had gone, the comfort he now needed dissipated, and all before his very eyes as he was left to wonder why? Why and what for? Had he just died it would have been better, he knew this, for then he would not be forced to watch all that had come to pass, he would not have been forced to feel the tragedy and the hurt of it all. He would have found some sort of solace in the grave as he as granted rest and reprieve from this world where pain seemed so near at hand and where the deepest of sorrow had come to stroke his face.

It was enough to shake anyone’s faith, and, looking to the response of his wife and his friends, one has to wonder if they would have, in similar circumstances, kept there’s as they looked to all that came to pass. After all, just seeing the struggles and the challenges that Job was forced to endure they wavered as they gave their counsel to him, imagine then if they were put on the same life altering, life changing path that he had been placed on by the course of this world and the powers of it that could forever transform a man’s life in the blink of an eye.

Yet the faith of Job, it could not be shaken. Thrown against the rocks amidst a sea of despair, tossed to and fro by the events of his life, and left battered and bruised the righteous man of Uz would not be moved, he would not be changed. Come all of the challenges of this life, come all the tests and the trials of this world there would remain that which he knew he could never be robbed of, that which could never be murdered in him, and as long as he held fast to it, he would find a measure of comfort and solace even as it seemed like he had nothing else left to live for.

This is what makes the triumphant cry of Job so amazing, so remarkable. Even as it must have seemed like he had nothing left, he stood tall, his body and his bones aching, his life in ruins, his peace robbed of him, and he called out amidst his faith, proclaiming that come what may, come what must, there is nothing, there is no one, whether through strength or affliction, through abandonment or struggle, that could take from him the promises of his God, there was nothing that could rob him of the hope that those promises brought into his life.

You see, the thing about faith is that it can never just be taken away from us. (John 10:28) That doesn’t mean though that we can’t lose it. There are times in our lives, when put to the test or put to the challenge, where we can find that it’s just not there, but it’s not because it was stolen from our grasps or because it was robbed us. It is because we have given it away, because we have abandoned it, because we felt like we had no more use for it or that it had failed us and so we toss it away as if it had no more value or worth left in our lives.

But what God teaches us, what we see in the life of Job is that faith, above all else is hope. It is hope in even the most dire of circumstances, even in the greatest of challenges. It is hope in the promises of God, hope in the blessings of His word, hope in the assurances that our Lord shall remain vigilant to our cause, being our rock and our refuge even as all the world around us seems to be cast to darkness and to chaos, to pain and to suffer and the anguish of the soul and the agony of what our lives have become seem to be upon us.

Perhaps it could be that our lives are unexpected, perhaps it could be that the events of it seem difficult, perhaps it could be that they rock us to our very foundation as everything we knew or that we thought we knew is called into question and it seems as if the world around is falling apart, leaving us with nothing but our pain and our sorrow. Yet so long as we cling, holding fast to our faith there is a transcending hope amidst our lives that guides us and protects us even amidst the most trying of times that seek to overwhelm us and overtake us.

We may not always understanding why it is that things seem to happen or why it feels as if darkness is upon us, yet understanding doesn’t need to come for us to know that there is a God who loves and who moves heaven and earth to protect us amidst our faith. There, though we may feel as if the tribulations of this age are upon us and that there is just so much there that it’s just more than we ever thought we could bear, by His compassion and His mercy He makes His presence known in our lives to lift the burdens off us and break the chains that bind us.

When we realize that, putting our sense of hope upon the Lord, our voice raising praises to His holy name, our lips trembling with anticipation as we raise our cause to Him amidst the trials that our days seem to be filled with we know that we have a firm foundation, for upon the rock of ages that cannot be moved we have built our lives and our faith, knowing that it is the mighty fortress by which nothing can destroy, nothing can break and we shall stand firm through all of the days of our life to the glories of the eternal life that has been promised to us through the assurances of His blessings and redemptions for our lives.

Stand fast then, even when captivity seems upon you, when it seems as if bondage is near at hand and iniquity is raised against you, for, in mercy, His love shall always come to bear in your life as you place your hope in the promises that He has made unto you face through all the days of your life. Then, come what may, come what must, you shall be able to make the same triumphant call, the same triumphant cry as Job had even as it seems like all the world around you has faded and fallen at your feet and your peace seems to be fleeting. For God, amidst His richest blessings shall shine His truth and righteousness upon your soul, forever giving strength unto your spirit.

Lord, grant that unto us all…

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.


To You do we humble ourselves amidst the promises of Your grace and hope amidst our lives dear Lord.

From the story of the Maran Centaurus do we now hear of murder and deceit and greed that has come to bear in the lives of these pirate who took hostages and captives for their own wants and their own desires, and though they received that which they demanded, they have found that where once they held the lives of others cheap, the integrity of theirs is no longer held with any values amongst their accomplishes. We pray dear Lord that this be an awakening for them and for those who would take captives and hostages throughout the world. Let them learn, let them find truth even as pain and suffering, as hopelessness and despair comes into their lives. Let them see the iniquity of their ways and that they do reap what they sow, finding hatred, and greed and contempt and death when they deal in these things.

Use then this experience to bring them to a greater sense of love for their fellow man, that they may abandon their path of unrighteousness and come to the compassion and the mercy that You taught us through Your Word. Let them see the pain and suffering that they bring and finally come to understand that they cannot escape it in their own lives as they find that betrayal death is so near at hand.

Then shall Your righteousness come to bear in their lives as true and sincere repentance is worked in their lives and they come to dwell in Your grace through all the days of their life, becoming disciples given to your way rather than the agents of misery that they have become in this age through the works that they have become known for.

In the name of Your son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Second Prayer:

To You do we come Dear Lord, seeking and imploring Your grace for the lives in Your people.

With Your promises in our heart and Your assurance guiding our spirits and our souls do we raise the names of all prisoners and hostages, all captives and slaves to You, knowing that there is no miracle that is beyond Your power when Your justice and authority comes to bear in this world. Stand beside Your people then in this, their deepest hour of need, and bring them to the blessings of Your Holy Spirit as You give them a sense of peace even as darkness and pain, suffering and sorrow seem so near at hand in their lives. Then, according to Your great love and Your wondrous grace, set them free from the hidden places where they are held.

There be those in this world held dear Lord, whose names are not on our lips. Here, for the names we do not raise up, for the names we do not know we pray, asking that where we do not know You do, seeing their faces, knowing their struggle, feeling their pain, that Your mercy shall come to bear in their lives. Bring them to liberty amidst the challenges and the hurt that they are forced to endure, and let your enduring justice forever guide their lives even as they seem so lost, so filled with anguish that their spirits are wounded and their hearts break amidst all that they have come to know and see in this world.

For our dear brother Ed do we once more pray, seeking and imploring Your grace for his life and the life of His family. In this, their hour of need and struggle walk beside them shining Your mercy and love upon them that they may, even as pain and sorrow, even as trouble and agony seem so near at hand, know that they are protected by You as You guide them by the mercy of Your hand.

For any who are held in any sort of captivity or bondage or slavery do we pray Lord, uplifting their cause to You amidst the promises that You have made unto Your people. Whether it is through sickness or poverty, intolerance or disease we ask that Your love come to bear in their lives as You draw them close to You, letting Your love and compassion, Your transcending grace come to bear in their lives and you set them free according to the mercy that You have promised unto them, for only You can work the miracles that they need now in their lives.

In the name of Your son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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