Monday, February 11, 2013

Recognizing our Source

Photo by Amelia Grace Photography

Recognizing our Source

By Debra Courtney

“ . . . Job made a habit of this sacrificial atonement, just in case they’d sinned.” 

Job 1: 5 The Message

Have you ever had some unexpected event happen in your life that caused great fear? Sudden calamities can result in great fear, unless we know who is behind the event.

It is not the suffering, as such, that troubles us. It is the undeserved suffering. Almost all of us in our years of growing up have the experience of disobeying our parents and getting "punished" for it. When that discipline was connected with wrongdoing, it had a certain sense of justice to it: When we do wrong, we experience the consequences.

As we get older, however, we come to see no real correlation between the amounts of wrong we commit and the amount of pain we experience. Very often it is quite the opposite: We do right and get knocked down. We do the best we are capable of doing, thinking we did the right thing and we get hit from the blind side and sent reeling in all kinds of emotions.

This is the suffering that first bewilders and then outrages us. It is this kind of suffering to which Job gives voice so accurately and honestly, that anyone who has ever suffered – which includes every last one of us – can recognize his or her personal pain in the voice of Job. The very thing that Job worked to keep from happening – happened! 

I only want to explore this as it correlates with me and maybe you.

I didn’t offer up sacrifices in the sort of way Job did, but I did in another way. I sacrificed myself to be what someone else needed me to be in order to please the very closest people to me. Making adjustments in me to make sure the relationships did not end. In other words, making sure I would never be abandoned. Instead of protecting myself from pain, I lost my identity.

In one case, a person whom I love dearly, had an accident that created a huge cause for concern on my part. I wanted to make sure that this loved one was cared for in the aftermath of some physical impairments, not knowing if this impairment would be long-lasting or short-lived. In my concern, I shared with a few friends that our mutual loved one might need our help in the coming days ahead. Unfortunately, my friend felt betrayed and embarrassed that I had shared this information. Although my intentions were good, the consequences of this experience led my loved one to choose to leave our relationship.  

I had spent so many years trying to prevent the very thing I didn’t want to happen – but it still happened. When my friend chose to leave our friendship, I felt betrayed.  There was nothing I could do, but watch them go. I had hope for reconciliation, but who knew if that would happen?

Rooted and grounded in what I know about God, instead of looking around at my circumstances, I looked up! What I did was trust in God to help me through it. I knew if he brought me to it, he could take me through it, and that is just what he did! I played “Through the Fire” by Jason Crabb so many times in the past, and now I was in the fire.

This one thing I knew for sure: Jesus would never leave me nor forsake me. He would stick closer to me than any human being on this earth. My faith and trust is only in Him. I will live victorious. I am an overcomer.  He knows the very number of hairs I have on my head. The righteous have never been forsaken. I am the blessed. I knew who I was in Christ. No problem, issue, or circumstance would change what I know about who I am and whose I am! I stand on the ROCK!
We have two choices in life: To become bitter or better. We get to choose. I chose better. I let God take care of what He needed to take care of with people. I just pray for them. I forgive. 

Loving those who hurt us is impossible in our own strength. This is graduate-level grace. God took His Super and put it with my natural and together you get SUPERNATURAL grace! 

What I thought was the worst thing that could ever happen to me, happened. I am no longer living in the fear/bondage of it. I faced it with Jesus and came through it. Still standing! And, although I've been through the fire, I don't smell like smoke!

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