February 10th, 2010 by Kristi Stephens
What was it that allowed Job to respond this way? To lose everything he held dear and fall on the ground in worship? For the honest cry of his heart to be “may the name of the Lord be praised?”
Thank you to those of you who took the time to join the discussion – so many great thought-provoking comments!
One of the things I have ended up discussing frequently with friends in recent months is keeping a proper balance in our view of God.
Sometimes we meditate only on God’s love – we content ourselves with a very “fluffy” and shallow view of God; a view of God that expects Him to do whatever it takes to keep us happy and comfortable. We are shocked and sometimes even angry when He allows pain and difficulty into our lives – and we resort to that “how could a good and loving God do this to me?” question.
Sometimes we emphasize God’s sovereignty and holiness and overlook His love. We develop almost a fatalistic view of our relationship with Him – expecting Him to make us suffer and bring every imaginable difficulty into our lives. Rather than living in joy and freedom, feeling secure in His love and grace, we cower before Him and wait for the giant shoe in the sky to fall on us.
Both of these extremes are wrong – both simplify God’s incredible nature and make Him too small. There must be a balance. We must keep both views of God in tension in order to land on Truth. Keeping both sides of God’s nature in view makes our God big enough to handle our questions – big enough to handle our suffering. Big enough to trust.
When I have walked with God and am unshakably confident in both His love and grace as well as in His sovereignty and holiness, I can face the difficulties of life with confidence. I know that my Father who knows and loves me has deemed this trial to be of benefit to me in some way. I know that He is not capricious – He is not making me suffer out of neglect or lack of concern. I can trust that He sees the bigger picture. I can also trust that He will walk with me every step of the way – He will never leave me.
Remember back to Job – Job didn’t have the privilege of reading the Job 1:6-12. He didn’t know that God had lovingly held him up for Satan to inspect – because God treasured him so dearly and was glorified through Job’s faithful life. He didn’t know that God had allowed Satan to afflict him within very specific boundaries.
From Job’s perspective, all he knows is that he has faithfully walked with God… and then in one single day he lost everything he held dear. This was no random coincidence – clearly this was a supernatural occurrence.
But Job responds with unshakable faith. He knows that God is good. He knows that he deserves nothing on his own – naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart… He knows that God is sovereign.
And so he can fall to the ground in worship and say, surely with a tremor in His voice – “may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Do you find that you tend to get out of balance in your view of God? Which end of the spectrum do you tend to overemphasize (love and grace, or sovereignty and holiness)? Do you think this changes how you respond to difficulties in your life?
All the posts in this series are indexed here.