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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Message: Decompression epilogue

So as I climbed out of the morass of my meltdown last week, God decided to show me myself in a mirror:  in Job chapter 10.  One of the things I had been doing (if you've read previous Sunday Messages, you know this), is adding my "misery"- my stress- on to the misery of all people and all time and thus questioning just what God's motivations were.  Kind of like this:

Job 10:1 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint on my self; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
Job 10:2 I will say to God, Do not condemn me; make me know why You contend with me.
Job 10:3 Is it good to You that You should press down, that You should despise the work of Your hands, and shine on the counsel of the wicked?
Job 10:4 Have You eyes of flesh? Or do You see as a man sees?
Job 10:5 Are Your days like the days of man? Are Your years like man's days,
Job 10:6 that You seek out my iniquity, and search for my sin?

Job 10:7 You know that I am not wicked; and there is none who can deliver out of Your hand.

Make me know why you contend with me.  I am trying my best, I am trying to change how I act, towards others and towards you, and still crap happens.  Why do you let things happen to me, while people that could care less about you get of Scot free?  Yep, said all that.  But the kicker is that last verse.  Instead of coming humbly and asking God to take my part, I was saying, like Job, "You said You would take it on for me, so TAKE IT!"  Implying, as Job was without realizing, that God was somehow in the wrong for not helping.

Sound familiar?

The next few verses are a really neat description of the process of my own creation- which would seem out of place save for the last verse:

Job 10:8 Your hands have made me and shaped me, together all around; yet You destroy me.
Job 10:9 Remember, I beseech You, that You have formed me as the clay; and will You bring me into the dust again?
Job 10:10 Have You not poured me out like milk, and curdled me like cheese?
Job 10:11 You have clothed me with skin and flesh, and have fenced me with bones and sinews.
Job 10:12 You have granted me life and favor, and Your providence has preserved my spirit.

You granted me life AND favor.  Your providence has PRESERVED my spirit.   Nice bit of self-condemnation there, huh?  Here I am whining out of one side of my mouth about what You HAVEN'T done (allegedly) and recognizing the things You HAVE done (and I wasn't currently appreciating) out of the other.

But wait, the whining escalates:

Job 10:13 And these have You hidden in Your heart; I know that this was with You.
Job 10:14 If I sin, then You mark me, and You will not acquit me from my iniquity.
Job 10:15 If I am wicked, woe to me; and if I am righteous, I will not lift up my head, being filled with shame, and looking on my affliction.
Job 10:16 For it increases! You hunt me as a fierce lion; and again You show Yourself marvelous on me.
Job 10:17 You renew Your witnesses against me, and increase Your anger on me; changes and warfare are against me.
My Bible translates, " and looking on my affliction" as "see my misery!"  So let's look at Job's misery.  He had went from being the richest, most blessed man in the world at the time to poor, alone, and sickly- AKA much like the rest of the world.  The tragedy of his fall is magnified only because he had so far to fall.  Much like me. I realized even as I whined I was in a much better place than many people, probably most people; on top of that, I was without Job's excuse, because I was in a better, more prosperous state that I had ever been.

NOTE: Pay attention- the next paragraph is the important part.

So what was my affliction?  I think I figured it out finally yesterday.  Instead of taking each stress, each little event as it came, saying "I can do something about this" and doing it or "I can't do anything about it",  and letting it go, I just kept adding them up.  I wasn't letting anything go, I was keeping score.  Just like Job, who COULD HAVE went to God, to a doctor, or just back to work, I sat in a pile of ash of my own making and told everyone (Actually the audience of one- me) that I couldn't help myself.

So, what then happened was my attitude and outlook began to reflect the "view from the pile", just as it did with Job:

Job 10:18 Why then have You brought me from the womb? Oh that I had given up the spirit, and no eye had seen me!
Job 10:19 I should have been as though I had not been; I would have been carried from the womb to the grave.
Job 10:20 Are not my days few? Cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,
Job 10:21 before I go, and I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;
Job 10:22 a land of obscurity, the darkness of the shadow of death, without any order, and the shining is as darkness.
Cease, then, and let me have a little comfort.  Get off my case!  I wasn't asking God to take up my burden; this is what He was hearing.  So, as I wanted to act so much LIKE Job, He decided to treat me like Job.

Here is what misery tastes like, son. 

Of course, He was a little more vocal with Job when He got to him:

Job 40:6 And Jehovah answered Job out of the tempest, and said,
Job 40:7 Now gird up your loins like a man. I will question you, and you teach Me.
Job 40:8 Will you also set aside My judgment? Will you condemn Me so that you may be justified?
Job 40:9 And have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
Job 40:10 Adorn yourself now with majesty and grandeur, and with glory and honor clothe yourself.
Job 40:11 Pour forth the rage of your wrath; and behold everyone who is proud, and abase him.
Job 40:12 Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.
Job 40:13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in darkness.
Job 40:14 Then I also will confess to you that your own right hand can save you.
When you can do it yourself, THEN I will tell you, you can do it yourself.  God is in charge for a reason.  I had been coming to Him with a lot of, "I don't understand this," as if it was His job to make it make sense to me.  What he was waiting for from me was what Job finally understood:

Job 42:1 And Job answered Jehovah and said,
Job 42:2 I know that You can do all, and not any purpose is withheld from You.
Job 42:3 Who is he who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have spoken what I did not understand; things too wonderful for me; yea, I did not know.
Job 42:4 Hear, I beseech You, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You will cause me to know.
Job 42:5 I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye has seen You.
Job 42:6 Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
I was speaking what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me; yep, I just didn't know.  Next time, instead of shouting "I don't get it," hopefully, I will try, "Lord, I have a question."

One at a time, not keeping score.

And the funny thing?  Job may have gotten to this point on his own, had he not "friends" that kept telling him, "God wouldn't do this to you if you hadn't committed some sin"; that was what caused his fight with God.  For me, it was the constant burying of myself in all the little things I wouldn't let go of.  It wasn't until Wednesday and Thursday that I realized how deep I had buried myself.

Wednesday, I was working away when a random song came into my head (Jefferson Starship's Rock And Roll Music, if you are curious).  This is a common occurrence for me... but it hadn't happened in almost a week.  And Thursday, the little wise guy in the back of my head, who makes me laugh when others wonder, "What's up with him?", told a joke.  For the first time in 2 weeks.  I was normal again.

Abridged version of this whole thing is, then, that Job and I questioned God with blame on our minds, for situations that were only made severe by our own attitudes about them.  Moral of the story, quit keeping score.  Throw out the ashes.


  1. Chris:
    Interesting that you got back into's got something to do with that "Epicurean Paradox" I mentioned in my post this past "Thorsday"...
    (in a nutshell - why allow bad things to happen to good people.)
    BTW, in case you were wondering, BOB spelled SIDEWAYS is J-O-B...LOL)
    Now you know where I'm at, brother.

    And I am glad you came to know that adding stress upon stress is like having a glove box full of old, ignored traffic tickets, which are JUST like SAVINGS BONDS - the LONGER you HAVE them the "MORE THEY MATURE"
    (thank Bill Cosby for that last part)

    As you heard me say often at my blog...I take life's challenges and my days as I do people...ONE AT A TIME.
    (which is also how I eat slices of pizza and drink my Dr. Peppers).

    Great sermonette AND a lesson for us ALL.
    Well done.
    Have a blessed Sunday and stay SAFE up there.

  2. Good God Almighty. That was long.

    1. God isn't known for brevity when He wants to make a point. I can't skimp and get His point across.

  3. Well then. It's nice to know I'm not alone in this world.

    That's quite a post, CW. When I read Job I remind myself of two things:
    1 - the evil one is alive and well in this world, and he wants nothing more than to see me suffer
    2 - my Lord Jesus loves me and will always, always and always shepherd me in the right direction.

    I am a work in progress, as are all Christians. Like any work, we requiring shaping. Some of us need 1000 grade sand paper. Other of us need a belt sander. The belt sander creates some heat.

    Bless you and yours!