2019.09.03 – When Things Don’t Go as Planned.

Then Job’s wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”

But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive disaster?* In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10 esv

* Often translated as “evil”, the Hebrew word can also be translated as “disaster.”

Can you remember a time when things did not go as you had planned?

Maybe you were hosting the family Thanksgiving for the very first time since you were married, and the turkey was ruined. Maybe you planned a big vacation away at the beach, and a hurricane canceled it. Maybe you were wait-listed at the college you really wanted to go to.

Or… Maybe you were planning a second honeymoon and you received word that you had cancer. Maybe you were getting ready to finish the semester and found out your grandmother had a severe stroke. Or maybe you were pregnant for the first time and the ultrasound revealed no heart beat…

In my career I have seen complete meltdowns because test results were botched, while others courageously face chemo and radiation with stage four cancer. I have witnessed people act like they had lost a loved one because their candidate did not win, and couples graciously wade through grief at the loss of a child.

What makes the difference? Is it character or maturity? Is it genetic make-up or family upbringing? Is it situational? Or is there something more? Is there Someone more?

Job lost everything. The scriptures say he was righteous before God. He even prayed for his kids when they partied, not for protection, but that they may not sin in the midst of their revelry. Yet Job lost his oxen, donkeys, and camels to raiders. He lost his flocks of sheep to fire from the sky. He lost his workforce to a combination of cutthroats and natural disaster. And he lost all of his sons and daughters to a disaster caused by a mighty wind. Then to add to add a cherry on top… He health was afflicted.

Notice the contrast between the reactions of wife and husband. Job’s wife wants him to curse God for all of this. Job calls out the reality of life.

What Job states so beautifully is that if we only thank God for the good things in life, we jeopardize forgetting that he is present for us even in the bad. In other words, God is there when LIFE happens.

Have you ever actually looked up the definition of the word “Life”? In Merriam-Webster Dictionary there are no fewer than twenty definitions, and that’s just the noun. It speaks of physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions; brackets it between birth and death or makes no boundaries on it at all; it’s referred to as a process, experience, and metabolism or something existential. It is one of the most expansive definitions I have ever seen for a word; it is almost infinite!

Isn’t it interesting that the greatest gift 42 ever gave us is Life? He was there before creation, and there before you were conceived. he was their at your borning cry, and there

John Lennon once penned; “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

So how do you react when the pot roast burns, or you receive the call that you Dad just died?

2 thoughts on “2019.09.03 – When Things Don’t Go as Planned.

  1. Based on what has occurred in my life and my plans over the last 18 months I have a much deeper understanding of Job and what he went through. What I find most interesting, and often overlooked, the actual details of his loss and suffering were maybe 6 months of a life that last over 100 years. How easy it is to let the negative steal the potential positives in life. Job was truly an amazing man. And his latter blessings were greater than the former life. There are many, many truths for us today in his life and example. I think there is a sermon series in there too Pat:)

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    1. Job would be an interesting series. It is a powerful journey of looking for God amidst suffering. A verse I used today at staff meeting was Job 9:11 as we recognize the anniversary of 9/11:

      “Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him.”

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