Dear brothers and sisters. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are part of God’s creation; He created us; He made us: “We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” – Psalm 100:3
As it says in Psalm 139:
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
How could Job praise God after everything that happened to him?
“Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said,
“I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.” – Job 1
Job lost it all: wealth; health; respect; reputation; family; property; children; servants; animals; houses. And after losing it all Job said: “Praise the name of the Lord.”
Why was Job able to do this after such a tragedy? Because Job knew God; He knew that God was good; that God had created him and his family; Job knew that everything he had came from the hand of God; naked Job came into this world and naked he would leave – everything each of us gets in between those two nakednesses is from the hand of God. Life is in God’s hands; our future and present is in God’s hands.
The apostle Paul and his friend Silas were put in prison for preaching the gospel and were chained– and what did they do? They started singing.
In Acts 16 we read:
“A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
How could they sing? Because they knew that God’s goodness and greatness exists even when we are facing pain and suffering; Paul and Silas knew that God’s goodness is greater than our circumstances. Job knew that God’s goodness was greater than his circumstances.
I get angry when someone takes too long in the line up while I’m shopping or when someone is driving slower than me on the highway; I get angry when someone asks me to do something when I’m busy; I get frustrated at the little difficulties of life – like if I have to bend over and pick up a shoe. I’m a sorry lot; I don’t have that kind of behavior as Paul and Job did.
My daughter is very ill in a palliative care home and I’ve raised my fists at God and screamed angry words at Him; I’ve punched pillows, cried, drank wine complained, gotten depressed and discouraged – but I’ve never questioned the existence of God.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
I may be an uncontrollable emotional nutbar at times – in fact I am an uncontrollable emotional nutbar at times; but I know this: God is good; God made me; God is Sovereign over my family and my life. I am not made of the same faith as Job and Paul – not yet. But I do have faith in God that He is good and that He cares about me and that He knows everything that is going on in my life; that His thoughts toward me are precious; that He loves me.
I am amazed at how many times during the day I respond out of irritation, annoyance, intolerance, criticism and complaining – I thought I was better than that. But the reality is that I’m not. I have a long way to go to get to where Job and Paul were.
Let me pray:
O Lord. I ask you to forgive me for all those times I complained and was bitter against you. Forgive me for my sinful attitude, my ungratefulness for what I have, my bitterness and anger toward you and others. Forgive me Father. Help me to forgive those who have not responded to me and to what I thought I needed and wanted. Forgive me Lord – and I forgive them for not being who I wanted them to be. I am not who you want me to be, I am not even who I want myself to be, so forgive me Lord for not doing and acting the way you want me to. I am not so young as I used to be and the end of my life is closer to me now than the beginning. Shape me and mold me into a man of praise and thankfulness that you created me to be. Take away my displeasure at the way things turn out rather than the way I want them to turn out to be. Help me accept the way things are and praise you and love and forgive others with a pure heart. Help me O God to do this simply because I want to be more like your Son Jesus Christ – who even though He was mistreated and beaten never opened His mouth against others or cursed them – but like a sheep led to the slaughter He kept His mouth shut. Help me O Lord to do the same. Amen.