“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.” Job 1:1 – 3
I love the book of Job. I love the lessons we can learn through the dialogs throughout the book between Job and his friends and especially between Job and God. But what I love the most about the book is the pattern found throughout scripture but prominent in this book. The pattern of Order – Disorder – Reorder.
Throughout life we will all experience this pattern not just once but many times as we move through life’s various stages and phases. The times where life is going well, and we feel that all is right with the world are to be enjoyed for what they are: periods of rest as we are prepared for the next stage of growth. Because we grow the most in the times of disorder. Times that bring all the things we would rather never experience. Job offers us an extreme example of what disorder can look like. Please know Job is an extreme example. I also know there are those of us who have been through extremes. Job does not stand alone in that experience. For those of you who have experienced the extremes of life, I am sorry, I know those times were very difficult for you, and you may still be recovering from the trauma you experienced.
And sometimes the difficulties in life seem to cascade around us bringing bad news on top of bad news with no end in sight. This is what Job experienced as one messenger after another brought devastating news and in the end Job and his wife were left with nothing. No animals, no sons, no daughters, nothing. I can’t even imagine.
On top of that, in those days, it was believed that when you were not prosperous or when bad things happened, God was mad at you because you had sinned in some way. There are a lot of people who still think along these lines. If we are a Christian, then life is supposed to be great, and not only will we have everything we need and then some, but nothing will go wrong. Well…that is not in the bible. Because what Jesus told us is this: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Did you read that? “In this world you will have trouble.” We do not get a pass from facing difficult times in our lives.
What we do get is the peace of Jesus. We can get through all things because Jesus has overcome all things. To be sure, it won’t be easy. We won’t get easy answers. Sometimes we won’t get answers. BUT…and this is important: we will, when we turn to God in all our difficulties, find that the difficulties have been redeemed for good. I have no idea how this happens. I just know from my own experiences that it does happen over time.
What I believe we need to keep in mind is the importance of enjoying life in the here and now. There is beauty all around us and we miss out when we get so caught up in all the minutia of life. We live with blinders on and when the difficulties happen, and they will, they can be a little easier to endure when we have the good to remind us that life is not always hard. In fact, more often than not, life is very good. We are the ones who need to take the time to be mindful of what is happening in the here and now as we show our gratitude with each and every blessing we receive.
One of the quickest things we can do to help us be more in the moment, is to put away our electronic devices. Especially our phones. Here is a challenge for you all: plan a fun event with your family or friends and leave your phone at home. Instead of taking pictures and posting to Facebook, talk to each other. Look at the world around you. People watch. Play. Have fun. These are the time of order, when life is good, and all is going well…disorder is coming. Just as disorder came for Job…but don’t despair…re-order is around the corner, and it is beyond amazing.