Wednesday, September 19, 2018

“From Calamity To Calm”

"From Calamity To Calm"

    Job was both righteous and rich.  Greatly blessed of God, and justified by Him in the limited manner known by Old Testament saints, Job seemed to have all.  

    "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.  And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east" (Job 1:1-3).

   Something was missing in Job.  Righteous and rich, the man of God nevertheless did not have rest.  He was not a man at peace, even before his trial began.  

   "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.  I was not in safety, neither had I rest" (Job 3:25-26).

    It is possible to know the Lord and to be greatly blessed by Him, but nevertheless to be governed by fear and insecurity rather than peace.  Like the Israelites of old, we may be delivered from Egypt, but fail to enter God's promised rest whereby a consistent and growing assurance fills our hearts (Hebrews 4:9).  Believers can be destined for Heaven without realizing that the Lord of Heaven has already come to us.  This was clearly the case with fearful Job, who become faithful Job after his grievous suffering and realization of God's all encompassing presence, governance, and provision.  "Before I had heard of Thee with the hearing of mine ear, but now mine eye seeth thee" (Job 42:5).  Again, Job possessed righteousness and riches before his trial, but no rest.  The Lord was not content with His servant's lack of peace, and thus worked through great calamity to form a consistently tranquil heart in Job.

    The Lord is not content with any son or daughter in Christ who has not realized His provision of peace.  Like Job, this may explain why we experience some of the trials that arrive at our doorstep.  The intriguing truth is that pleasant times and the peace of God are not always the companions we might expect them to be.  The Apostle Paul confirms this in his well known mandate and promise to the Philippians:

   "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known unto God.  And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phillipians 4:6-7).

    Note that the peace referenced by God "passeth all understanding."  This means that the peace of Christ is best realized and known where it seems it should not be, namely, in our difficulties, pains, and challenges.  Peace in pleasant times is understandable, or at least the earthly sense of calm that accompanies obvious blessing.  Conversely, peace in trouble almost seems like an oxymoron.  It is, except when we consider the spiritual peace provided through the presence and working of God on our behalf.  Job doubtless enjoyed his blessings before he suffered.  Only thereafter, however, did he know the Lord well enough to also know His peace.  Again, our troubles offer to us an experience of Christ's tranquility that can never be known or accessed in our pleasant times.  "This is my comfort in my affliction, for Thy Word hath quickened me" (Psalm 119:50.  Is God present enough, loving enough, involved enough, strong enough, and willing enough to reveal His peace in our pain?  Yes He is, but we must know and trust Him enough to discover, as did Job, that calamity paves the way to calm in the hearts of those who find the Prince of peace where it seems He could not be.

"Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee."
(Isaiah 26:3)

Weekly Memory Verse
   For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
(Ephesians 2:18)

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