Between the Ranting and the Receiving

by Andy Wood on September 22, 2008

in Enlarging Your Capacity, Five LV Laws, LV Cycle, Principle of Abundance, Principle of Increase

(How to Restore Your Losses, Part 2)

Ground Zero Construction Site, New York

Ground Zero Construction Site, New York

In the previous post I talked about the fact that at the end of Job’s saga, the Lord restored his losses.  For most of this righteous man’s painful episode, the end of the story was yet to be told about him… an important thing to remember when we encounter seasons of great loss.

One thing I left hanging was that Job was required to participate the process.  Make no mistake about it: this was a man who was intimate enough with God to be honest with Him about his feelings and pain.  But something changed between the ranting and the receiving.  I have a feeling the same may be true of you and me, too, if we want to see our losses restored.

1.  Recognize God as a God of purpose.
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted,” Job said (Job 42:2, ESV).  Job acknowledged not just that God had a plan, but that His intentions and purposes are good.  He also submitted to that purpose – even when he didn’t have answers.

Here’s a secret that’s hard for many people (me included) to accept: some people would rather have answers to their questions than restoration of their losses.  Their theme is, “If I can’t ‘get it,’ then I don’t want it.  Just because you or I can’t figure out God’s purposes doesn’t mean He is without them.  He knows what He’s doing, even if we can’t always articulate it.

2.  Acknowledge your whining spirit.
Job saw that he had taken his words too far.  He said, “I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:3. ESV).

It’s one thing to be honest with God about your feelings or thoughts.  It’s another to, in my Dad’s words, “let your mouth overload your behind.”  The more Job had progressed, the more shrill and demanding he had become in his demand that the Lord show up and hear his argument.  Nobody ever solved a problem or changed a situation by whining or demanding!

3.  Shift your focus from a God of reputation to a God of experience
“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5, ESV).  Job experienced a collision between the God he had known of and the God who was revealing Himself.  When faced with enormous loss, it isn’t enough to cling to the fumes of what we’ve heard about God.  We need to lay hold of God until He “shows up.”

We all love to quote the principle that God will not allow you to face anything that He won’t give you the grace to handle.  But God will allow you to face adversity that your previous experience isn’t big enough to handle.

One note of caution: When God does show up, you may get more than you bargained for.  Job sure discovered that!

4.  Take a hard look at your ugly side.
“I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes,” (Job 42:6, ESV).  Adversity often shows us a side of ourselves that on our better days we don’t like.  Here was a man God favored, still recognizing his need to repent.  We are no different.  Could it be that the only thing standing between you and restoring your losses is your pride, and insistence that you are (always) right?

The Greek word for “trials” and “temptations” are exactly the same.  The only difference is the source.  What appears as a temptation from Satan is a test from God, and vice-versa.  James makes it clear that our trials and temptations are aimed at a part of us that, when exposed to the light, is pretty ugly.

5.  Pray for your friends.
Here was a motley collection of guys who had completely failed Job at his greatest point of need.  “Disappointment” hardly describes the colossal failure these men were as sources of comfort and encouragement.  Yet, here Job was, interceding for these men.  In doing so, Job wasn’t just obeying God (important enough); he was showing mercy.  Job refused to gloat over being right… proof enough he wasn’t a North American Christian!  (Okay, just kidding.)

One of the biggest scars that people can wear following a season of loss is the scar of disappointing, frustrating, or abandoning people.  I’m sorry – deeply sorry – if that is happened to you.  But you have to decide whether you are going to allow those people to stand between you and restoration of your losses.  Again, I have met plenty of people who would rather be right.  They’d rather win the argument and lose the blessing.

I’m sure that would never be true of you.  Start praying for people who have hurt or disappointed you.

I previously mentioned the Buffalo Bills and their record comeback.  After this amazing turnaround, Frank Reich, the backup quarterback, gave these well-known lyrics as his testimony to the press for that famous game:

In Christ alone I place my trust,
And I will glory in the power of the cross
In every victory, let it be said of me
My source of strength, my source of hope is Christ alone.

Every comeback, every instance of restored losses, requires something on God’s part, and something on ours.  Hold on to your confidence in God, and quit that bellyaching.  Take a hard look at your ugly side, and let go of your frustrations or anger toward people.  The end of the story hasn’t been told about you yet.

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