The Necessary Journey

journey

Reading: Job 13-17

“Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.”

The tone of melancholy echoed as Job wrestled with God and exchanged arguments with his friends. His lament bewailed the brevity of life, the surety of death and a deep sigh of hope’s absence. So today, we contemplate: “Could something good still come out of a situation such as this?”

Ken Gire wrote, “When the Father begins crafting character, a crushing must first take place. Not because He’s a temperamental artist who’s angry with His work, but because the raw materials for His art come from a broken heart.” I believe that a state called “brokenness” comprise a huge bulk in our lifetime. The mere concept of it brings an awkward chill to our spines. We are afraid of being broken, so we often evade it. However, we must understand that brokenness is a necessary journey. We cannot escape its reality, but we can choose to embrace a fresh, biblical perspective.

When King David repented of the sin he committed with Bathsheba, he expressed in Psalm 51:16-17 that, “[God] will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; [God] will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” The young king recognized that what God longs for is a deep character more than just great accomplishment. But how is godly character formed? Since this is not innate among us, we should all go through the painful, necessary journey of brokenness.

I believe that every person who is reading this now could testify to the truth that we live flawed, broken lives. It hurts, but I urge you to not quit. I pray that you’d keep your head up, endure and in God’s appointed time, may our melancholy turn into doxology!

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Worship Amidst Pain

Title: Worship Amidst Pain

Reading: Job 1-7 

worship

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)

Famous author by the name of C. S. Lewis wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” This is easier said than accepted, I believe, for this is not the common worldview of man. When pains in life come, it is as if we are instinctively compelled to make truce with an angry God. Does this occur to you as well? What is your knee-jerk reaction to life’s difficulties?

Today’s passage directs our attention to Job, a man who had all the things that one could ever hope for – a great family, a thriving business and a good moral standing. Furthermore, he was a man who enjoyed an intimate relationship with the Lord. He was, in fact, noted to be “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1,8). However, almost like in a snap, things that he treasured in life were taken from him one by one. His flock, his servants, and above all, his children – gone!

Yet in his anguish, Job did not sin nor charge God with any wrong. Instead, he worshipped. Job understood that grieving and worshiping were not two incompatible roommates. He did both – a deep catharsis of the soul while praising the God who holds all things together!

I pray that we would all see our circumstances as Job does. May we allow God to use our pains as a stage where he can proclaim his goodness, mercy and steadfast love!

Prayer Focus: “O Lord, thank you for you are in control of all things. When times get tough and I do not understand, help me to lean on your grace, wisdom and strength. Amen.”

Beauty in Brokenness

I found this noteworthy passage when I was reading the booklet, “Mentoring for Life and Leadership” by Pastor Herman Moldez. It hit me since I’ve been counseling a couple of people the past weeks who have been overwhelmed by questions and doubts while going through faith-stretching situations.

I thought of sharing this with you, as you continue seeking the Lord at the state that you are now. Hang in there, my friend.  And may the Lord’s grace be so sufficient for you as you “process” your present personal struggles.  I’m sure it would be a tough “wrestling match” internally; but our God is faithful and loving — just as He was with Paul.

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Living the Spirituality of Vulnerability

Paul prayed for three times and never received the answer he wanted.  He prayed for deliverance, instead he remained captive to demonic torment (see 2 Cor. 12:8).  Paul died with his “thorn in the flesh”.  He remained weak.  And he was not ashamed to admit it.  Why didn’t God fix Paul’s problem and pain?  As Paul struggled bitterly with the painful torment of the thorn buried in his flesh (literally or metaphorically), he discovered the power of God’s grace.

The wonder of God’s grace is exhibited in human weakness.  God’s love is felt deeply in times of suffering.  God became real to Paul – when He did not fix his pain, but instead gave him grace.  God invites us to walk with Him in the dark alleys and deep valleys of life to experience the reality of His presence (Psalm 23:4).  This does not deny the work of God to heal the sick, to restore broken marriages, to grow struggling churches to mega churches.  But we must not deprive ourselves of encountering God in human weakness and suffering.  The intimate experience of knowing God happens by our willingness to embrace both the crown and the cross, prosperity and poverty, joy and agony of serving the Lord (see Phil. 3:10; 4:10-13).

Rather than offering quick-fix solutions to people’s problems, perhaps we must learn to watch and wait on God.  Let us learn to live the spiritual life powerfully in times of darkness.  God can make Himself very real even in His silence.  God is at His best when life is at its worst.  So let us allow people to struggle with their own brokenness and in their own vulnerability that they may learn to embrace God’s love and encounter God’s power.  We may not be aware of it, but our persistent effort to help and give advice may only make people dependent on us instead of God.  Maybe that’s what we want – to feel needed and to perform our best trick and technique to solve the world’s problem.  We want credit.  And that’s the reason God made Paul endure his pain – to humble him and allow him to give God the glory.