|Vol. 14 No. 5 May 2012||
Job pled and cried for justice and mercy during his intense suffering. In Job 7:1-7 he said:
Is there not a time of hard service for man on earth? Are not his days also like the days of a hired man? Like a servant who earnestly desires the shade… So I have been allotted months of futility, and wearisome nights have been appointed to me. When I lie down, I say, “When shall I arise, and the night be ended? For I have had my fill of tossing till dawn.” My flesh is caked with worms and dust, my skin is cracked and breaks out afresh. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope. Oh, remember that my life is a breath!
Job said this again in verse 16. “I loathe my life; I would not live forever, let me alone, for my days are but a breath.” How long does it take to take a breath? In comparison to eternity, that tiniest bit of time could be an accurate representation of just how short our lives are!
Job fully acknowledged God’s control and life giving spirit over every living creature. Then he asked this thought provoking question in Job 12:9-10. “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” Elihu, one who reproved Job and his friends, said in Job 34:14-15, “If He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish and man would return to the dust.” A truer statement was never made!
Psalm 78 comprises a survey of the history of the children of Israel. It tells of the marvelous grace of God and is also the sad, sad, commentary of Israel’s rebellion after He delivered them from Egyptian bondage. It recounts again and again God allowing them to keep living despite their repeated acts of disobedience. It also reminds us repeatedly that God truly is gracious, longsuffering and patient to the zenith. God loves us and wants us in heaven with Him!
Psalm 78:17 says, “But they sinned even more against Him by rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness. And they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy.” Verses 21 and 22 say God heard this and was furious because they did not believe Him and did not trust in His salvation. However, God’s compassion is displayed once again in verse 38. “But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath.”
God’s grace and forgiveness that is available to us is far beyond the comprehension of the sharpest and keenest human mind! Psalm 78:39 reveals this. “For He remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again.” Psalm 89:47-48 reads, “Remember how short my time is; for what futility have You created all the children of men? What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?”
So, what helps us to keep perspective and make an adventure out of living? Our confidence must be in God as we allow Him to lead us through the “land mines” of this sin-cursed, fallen world! Solomon said it superbly in Ecclesiastes 5:19-20. “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor – this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.”
As one goes out the back door onto the patio, along the side of our house there is a flowerbed where three or four small trees/bushes grew. Louis and I decided to move those bushes to the corner of fence that we installed last year. I had planted a rosebush in that location only to discover that it did not get enough light because of the overshadowing trees. So, with some difficulty, we moved the bushes to the fence and the rosebush to the flowerbed where it would get more light. This left several feet of bare ground along the house between roses and the cement pad of the patio. So, the natural thing to do was to plant more flowers.
I purchased some Lily bulbs and planted them between the rosebush and the steps into the house, stopping about three feet from the steps as that area is overshadowed by the roof. A couple weeks later, the plants started to emerge from the ground. As the plants became taller, they all leaned toward the rosebush. I soon discovered buds and then open blooms on the Lilies. However, they are still growing toward the rosebush. I underestimated the amount of light that part the flowerbed is receiving. The Lilies are growing toward the rosebush because that is where the sunlight is most prominent.
This brought a thought to my mind. Are we growing toward the Sonlight of Christ? Jesus said, “…I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12 NKJV). If we are growing toward Jesus, we are walking in the light of righteousness and not the darkness of evil (1 John 1:6-7).
Just as the Lilies I planted were overshadowed by the roof, blocking the direct sunlight, sometimes we allow the cares of this world to overshadow the direct Sonlight of Christ toward us. Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” The full context (6:25-30) is a lesson on worry. Jesus shows how God cares for the flowers and the birds, and He certainly will provide for our needs as well. We will have the necessities of life – food, shelter and clothing – if we put God first in our lives and strive to daily walk in the Sonlight of Christ.
I also realized that even though the Lilies did not have direct sunlight, they grew and bloomed because they guided themselves toward the light. They are bent, but they are blooming! As Christians, we may be living our lives with the darkness of the world overshadowing us. We may be doing some good works; however, we are not as effective as we should be since we are bent toward the Sonlight not growing directly toward Christ. Our Spiritual path has highs, lows, twist and turns instead of a direct, upward road toward our Heavenly Father.
I may need to move the Lilies to another part of the yard where they can receive direct sunlight to flourish and grow. Let us learn from the Lilies. Remove the shadow of the world from our lives and grow directly toward the Sonlight of Christ, growing and flourishing in His kingdom while on this earth.