Posted by: Brad Stanford | November 14, 2009

Getting Jobed

Last night we had friends from church that were coming to our house for dinner. Being in the country, it’s difficult to find our place, especially in the evening. If I know when somebody’s coming, I’ll park the white van up by the road, so the turn is obvious. But That didn’t happen last night, and our guests inevitably missed our place on the first pass, and stopped to turn around. While waiting to turn left, they were hit from behind. The driver didn’t see the oncoming traffic in the other lane, and thought they were going to turn more quickly than they did.

Note that this was not the road I wrote about yesterday. :^)

Anyway, there was a bit of a scare as the wife is pregnant, and their two-year-old was in the back seat. They’re all ok. The guy that hit them went to the hospital.

In a related event, the pastor and I were enjoying some time at St. Arbucks yesterday morning. In part, we were discussing why the unexpected is so unexpected. We talked a little about how a family who had been hit with tragedy lately (I mentioned them briefly in Sunsets and Gunmen) had been surrounded by people who made sure their dairy kept running, and also made sure they had provision for travel. We also talked about Job, and some of the revelations that come from that story.

So my friends have this wreck on the evening of the day we have this discussion. And this morning God put it all together for me.

Job knew God before the trouble started

God referred to Job as righteous. Satan described Job as having a divine hedge around him, so he couldn’t get to him. That means every attack would have to be long distance and – apparently – ineffective. But Job’s relationship with God was beyond the American relationship, where we simply ask Him to give us what we want. This was an intimate “Whatever you want” attitude towards God. We know this because of Job’s response to calamity.

And what a calamity it was:

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

Your servants who you know by name are killed. Your oxen and donkeys  – your tractors, part of your source of food – are stolen. Weird fire falls from the sky and burns up your servants – whom you’ve rejoiced with as their children are born – and sheep – your source of clothing and wall-to-wall carpeting.

Then more servants are killed with the sword, and your camels – your trucking fleet – is stolen. And of course, some sort of wind storm – I always imagine a tornado, because I’m in Texas – takes down your oldest son’s house that you helped him build, and all of your children inside, whom you’ve invested 20 or more years into, and for whom you have sacrificed your life many times over.

Job’s response: worship.

And again, clear the American ways of thinking from your mind. Job’s form of worship was agreeing with God that it was His game, and His rules, and that everything He does is right. The quote from Proverbs 27 in “Popping Out Of The Bubble” is apropos: the wounding from a friend can be trusted. And for Job, God was the most trusted friend He had, because he saw Him daily. Not in the quiet time kind of way, where we compartmentalize God to a certain portion of the day, but the all day and all night kind of way.

God’s people should know Him before calamity hits.

God sends rain on both the just and the unjust. In the same way, calamity is also the way and cycle of this present darkness. It comes to both good and bad people. Even if the rest of life is perfect, you still have death to deal with. And in truth, the rest f life is just as broken.

The community of believers – the church, as it is often called – is the visible body of Christ on the earth. Everyone on the earth, believer or not, should be able to point to the unusual level of unity and support found within it. In fact, this is designed to be the advertising of God’s glory on the earth. Sadly, the last 100 years in America has seen more arguing than unity, and more cursing than caring within the church. Many are busy trying to figure out what they can get away with while still “making it” to heaven, rather than speding their time trying to figure out how to give their life away.

So when Christians display the same fears and worries about the unexpected and broken things of life, then the body of Christ is neither functioning, nor visible. Because when it’s functioning, then the friend in the accident knows immediately that hospital bills and replacement cars tor drive are already taken care of. People who suffer loss know that they can focus their energies on handling the loss because the details are taken care of for them. And to everyone around, the body of Christ is alive, active, and visible.

Getting Jobed

No matter what the calamity, Job and the modern-day Jesus freak (good band name), have the same ways of handling it. Daily preparation by giving yourself away more and more each day, and worshiping God (as in agreeing with God that it’s His creation, and His rules; that He is indeed entitled to allow or disallow anything He wants), is what will take the full sting out of the unexpected. It will still be a shock, it will still be difficult, but it will be in a different atmosphere, both in your mind, and in the resulting circumstances.

It is while we’re getting Jobed that the world really gets to the witness the body of Christ at its best. The body can be dysfunctional and still accomplish taking care of someone, as any pagan club can. But it is the synergetic combination of the attitude and actions of the one being Jobed combined with the attitudes and actions of the supporting community that brings the glory of God.

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