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Measuring My Days

July 2009
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A commonplace life, we say and we sigh,
But why should we sigh as we say?
The commonplace sun and the commonplace sky
Makes up the commonplace day.
The moon and the stars are commonplace things,
And the flower that blooms and the bird that sings;
But dark were the world and sad our lot,
If the flowers failed and the sun shone not.
And God who studies each separate soul
Out of the commonplace lives makes His beautiful whole.   —Anonymous

How many of you are going through some extraordinary trouble, have been, or will be?  That is the question the book of Job ponders.  It paints for us in epic poetry how life is written on a canvas far too big with too much mystery for anyone to fully comprehend.

            Job is the book our Bible class has been studying.  We learned that Job was a real person who lived at the time of the patriarchs, a person of great faith whose troubles have paralleled everything conceivable that any other person has ever experienced.  Through suffering, pain, and despair he hangs on tenaciously to his faith.  What Job does not know is that his great adversary, Satan, has petitioned God to allow him to bring all sorts of trouble on Job, believing that he will renounce his faith.  His friends come to advise him and give him reasons why he is suffering but neither empathize with him nor pray for him.  To his accusers, Job concludes, I cannot find one wise man among you.  A light breaks through in the midst of his reasoning and pleas to the Almighty when he says my Witness is in heaven. In the depth of despair as he prays to God, comes one of the greatest professions of faith in the Bible.  With portents of the Incarnation, these words (Job 23-27): Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book!  That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever!  For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth! And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my heart faints within me.

            These many centuries later people like myself can read Job’s words and know that his prayer was answered.  His words were written in the Book of Books.  His statement of faith has blessed believers down the ages with the assurance that God was then and is still in control.  The first century Christians did see God in the flesh.  And the Word was with God, And the Word was God!  (John 1:1).

            Job’s words teach us a great lesson about the importance of earnest prayer, heartfelt conversations with God.  We’ve seen the same lesson in Daniel where Gabriel was dispatched to interrupt him even as he was praying.  The study reminded me of Jesse Stuart’s humorous story Rain on Tanyard Holler.  Down on his knees pappy begged God to wash trees up by the roots.  God answers with more devastation than he prayed for.   Be careful what you pray for.

                                   

When God wants to drill a man,

And thrill a man,

And skill a man

When God wants to mold a man

To play the noblest part;

 When He yearns with all His heart

To create so great and bold a man

That all the world shall be amazed,

Watch His methods, watch His ways!

 How He ruthlessly perfects

Whom He royally elects!

How He hammers him and hurts him,

And with mighty blows converts him

 Into trial shapes of clay which

Only God understands;

While his tortured heart is crying

And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks

When his good He undertakes;

How He uses whom He chooses,

And which every purpose fuses him;

By every act induces him

To try His splendor out-

God knows what He's about….Dale Martin Stone