Now consider the number of people in your church. What about the number of other believers you know at work? At least in America, we aren’t yet short on people who at least know of God and many of us are blessed to be able to regularly interact with godly people who encourage us.
Add to these numbers the available resources on the Internet and television, and it’s safe to say we don’t lack for opportunity to learn about God.
I love to learn about God, about His promises of blessings and how He has a plan for my life and that His plan is for a future and a hope. But I must admit that this sometimes replaces actually knowing God.
In Job 1:1, God said to Satan,
“Have you noticed my servant Job? Look at this man of integrity, the finest in all the earth, who fears God and rejects all evil (Job 1:8).”
But while Satan considered Job by saying he was who he was because of His riches and prosperity, let us consider Job and why God felt confident allowing Satan to test him.
Job amazes anyone who takes the time to study his life. He lost everything… wife, kids, wealth, health… and still remained a man of integrity, still feared God and still rejected evil. No matter what happened, Job simply refused to turn from God. If you haven’t read the full story, please do so. It’s an amazing one and so full of impact that James references him as a prophet.
“For examples of patience and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. Job is an example of a man who endured patiently. From his experience we see how the Lord’s plan finally ended in good, for he is full of tenderness and mercy” (James 5:10-11).
In The Fire of Delayed Answers, Bob Sorge points out a fact about Job that not only had I not considered before but that struck me as tremendously profound.
“The thing that’s stunningly amazing is that Job survived his ordeal without the aid of written Scripture, without the support of godly friends, and without anyone who could speak the prophetic word of the Lord to him.”
Job was the first book of the Bible to be put on paper. As such, Sorge notes that
“it’s fascinating to consider what was the first message that the Holy Spirit wanted to establish with quill and ink.”
Job went through tremendous trials, unimaginable heartache and significant loneliness before getting any understanding of God’s working in his life. And, it turns out, Job went through all of this alone with literally just his faith in God to sustain Him.
How could Job “patiently endure” so much and never turn from God? Without a study Bible or a Bible dictionary or a church to go to or encouraging friends or a devotional or the Internet (gasp!), how did he make it?
Sorge helps answer the question by saying,
“The fact that Job came through with his faith intact is testimony both to the grace of God on his life and to the eminent stature of his spirituality.”
The grace of God absolutely answers this question. And the answer forces me to confront aspects of my own spirituality, namely the lack of recognition of God’s grace in my own life – or maybe it’s more that I take His grace for granted – and the over-dependence on tools for knowing about Him. I’m not saying these tools are bad, but I am saying they can distract from simply basking in His grace.
Don’t get rid of your Bibles and study tools or stop using those awesome Internet resources, and certainly don’t stop connecting with other godly believers. These are all good, useful and worthwhile. But perhaps, like me, you need to become more aware – or re-aware – of His grace. Perhaps spending more time recognizing and thanking Him for His grace in your life before delving into those tools will make them even more effective. Perhaps.
DISCUSSION: In what other ways does a focus on the tools distract us from focusing on God’s grace?
Welcome to the book club discussion of The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge. Each blogger is reading, and then sharing on what inspires, encourages, or challenges them. We’ll be taking 2 weeks per chapter. Our co-facilitators are Jason and Sarah – other active participants include Dusty, Glynn, Joell, and Rick at present.