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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, April 22, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
Job continued his questioning, saying that his suffering would be more bearable if only he knew why it was happening. If there was sin for which he could repent, he would! He knew about the wicked and the fact that they would be punished; he knew God could vindicate him if he so chose. In all his examples of the wicked in the world, his overriding desire was for God to clear his name, prove his righteousness, and explain why he was chosen to receive all this calamity. Job tried to make his friends see that questions about God, life, and justice are not as simple as they assumed. (NLT)
Job 23:1-10 – Then Job spoke again: “My complaint today is still a bitter one, and I try hard not to groan aloud. If only I knew where to find God, I would go to his throne and talk with him there. I would lay out my case and present my arguments. Then I would listen to his reply and understand what he says to me. Would he merely argue with me in his greatness? No, he would give me a fair hearing. Fair and honest people can reason with him, so I would be acquitted by my Judge.
“I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I turn to the south, but I cannot find him. But he knows where I am going. And when he has tested me like gold in a fire, he will pronounce me innocent.”
The Lord says, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.” — Isaiah 42:3 (NIV)
Karen S. Weaver (Ohio) titled her story “THE GOLD STANDARD;” here is Karen’s story:
“My husband’s battle with cancer had the two of us on a roller coaster ride of optimism and dashed hopes. I was so angry with God that I was ready to explode!
“In the midst of this terrible trial, I attended a Christian women’s conference. As I sat with folded arms the speaker got my attend [attention] when she asked, ‘Have you ever been angry with God?’ Then she read the scripture quoted above. Later I walked to my car thinking, God, this reed is about to snap. If any wick is smoldering, I can’t see it.
“Back home, I turned to Job 23. As I read each verse, I slapped the page angrily, until I came to verse 10: ‘[God] knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.’ Then I stopped. Knowing that gold is refined through exposure to tremendous heat that separates out the impurities, I saw a connection to my situation. Suddenly, I became aware of the impurities within me – especially jealousy, resentment, and self-pity. I asked God for help and forgiveness. Calm replaced my anger, and peace replaced my fear. In the weeks that followed, I continued to examine my attitudes and to ask for forgiveness. Though God’s words did not change my circumstances, they did change my heart. God does not say that a reed can’t be bruised or that a candle can’t burn low. But God has promised to always be present and faithful in giving us strength to find victory over the struggle.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Even in troubling times, God’s grace can strengthen me.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we do not understand suffering, but we do know that you take care of us. When we rail against you, replace our anger with trust. Amen.
Prayer Focus: THOSE WHO ARE ANGRY WITH GOD
To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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