Saturday, June 20, 2015

When it Rains...

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job spoke, and said: "May the day perish on which I was born, And the night in which it was said, 'A male child is conceived.' May that day be darkness; May God above not seek it, Nor the light shine upon it. May darkness and the shadow of death claim it; May a cloud settle on it; May the blackness of the day terrify it. As for that night, may darkness seize it; May it not rejoice among the days of the year, May it not come into the number of the months. Oh, may that night be barren! May no joyful shout come into it! Job 3:1-7 (NKJV)

There is a saying that I did not really understand as a child.  "When it rains it pours."  Growing up on the high desert plains of Idaho, it never poured when it rained.  I did not know what buckets of rain falling from the sky was all about until I moved to Texas.  In Texas, "When it rains, it most certainly pours!"  This figure of speech, called an idiom is pointing to a truth concerning life.  Sometimes, a lot of bad things happen to people all at once.  According to the musical, "Fiddler on the Roof," you should just give a toast to life, for life has a "way of confusing us, blessing and bruising us!"

I had a day when life "poured" on me.  I was on my way to a wedding, where I was officiating the ceremony.  It had been raining heavily and I live on the wrong side of a creek; so, dressed up in my Sunday best, I took the trolley across the creek.  The seat was a bit small and the chain securing the seat punched a hole in my pants and my pants remained caught in the chain link.  The only way to get "loose" from the chain link was to take off my slacks--which were brand new and now had a brand new hole in them.  In order to take off my slacks I had to take off my shoes--which meant that my socks were now in the mud--and to complicate an already complicated situation, I had cut the top of my hand on the trolley's chain.  I finally, got my pants loose, got redressed, and made it to the wedding. On the way home I decided to take a chance on the trolley...again.  This requires gloves as you pull yourself across the creek.  I was about three-forth's of the way across the creek, flash light string in my mouth to provide light in the pitch darkness, when I heard a "chir-ping" as the chain holding the chair decided it was a good time to break.  Suspended in the air, I had a decision to make. Firstly, the chain-link was once again caught in my pants and I could not pull them loose.  As I let loose from the trolley cable, my pants were utterly and totally ripped--about a foot long rip.  I straightened my body so that as I fell from about ten feet up in the air, I was trying to land in the creek in such a way that I would not twist an ankle.  "Splash!"  With ripped pants--flash light still hanging out of my mouth--soaking wet in my dress clothes--I climbed the 10 foot muddy bank--and hiked home to the sloshing sound of wet shoes and socks.

As I hiked across the field to my home, I thought of Paul and Silas singing, I thought of the great testing that Job endured, I thought about how blessed I was to have survived the trolley ride, and with a grateful heart and a smile on my face I began to sing.

I have no way to relate to the testing of Job's faith.  He got clobbered by Satan!  I mean a tsunami of disasters devastated his life.  In this moment of despair Job had a wish.  He wished that he had never existed.  That he had never been born.  That he had never had children. That he had never been around to suffer from the loses that had come to roost in his life.  He lost everything...  Let's add it all up:

  • He lost all of his possessions and wealth.
  • He lost all of his children and their families.
  • He was married to a woman, who also suffered through all the loses, who in her own misery, advised Job, "to curse God and die."
  • He was physically afflicted and tormented by pain.
  • He was surrounded by fair weather friends who lacked both in tact and spiritual understanding.
  • His reputation was destroyed.
It is doubtful that anyone could endure what Job endured and not have a death wish.  And yet, in the midst of his troubles Job declare, "Even if God slays me, yet will I trust Him."  Talk about real faith.  It is what every Bible hero has in common: A faith that defies the odds; a faith that refuses to quit; a faith that will not bow down; a faith that believes and keeps on believing; a faith that hopes and keeps on hoping; a faith that loves and keeps on loving.  Job was such a man... 

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