I Get it Now~ Based on a sermon by Pastor Kevin Dudley

June 17, 2013

June 6, 2013

Job 42:1-6

On Sunday, June 16, Pastor Dudley began his sermon by sharing a story about a lunch meeting that took place at an exclusive member’s only club in Columbus. He said that during the meeting he asked God, “why am I here?” I was able to relate to that feeling as I’m sure many of us are. Whether it’s a new position or job, a restaurant, social club or even church event, I feel safe waging the bet that we have each often questioned why we were put in a place that we feel we don’t belong. Pastor Dudley said that when he posed this question the answer he received was because there is something about him that the people he shared lunch with need. I began to think back on the times I felt out of place as he continued on to say that so often we undervalue ourselves and underestimate our worth. Everywhere we go we add value simply because we are there. It is not a matter of what we have as material possessions, but simply because of who we are. The problem is that we (or speaking for myself I will confess I…) tie our self-worth to things of this world and so when the things are taken away they take our (my) self-esteem and self-worth right along with them.  We have to challenge ourselves to see ourselves the way that God does; He loves us simply because of who we are and more importantly who we are in Him. We must stand and agree to no longer allow our things to define who we are, so that when the storm comes, as it came to Job, we are not easily broken, but rather we stand firm on the promises of God and how He defines us, not the world. Our own life histories will show us that bad things will happen to good people. As Pastor pointed out last week, Job was a man of God, proclaimed to have been “blameless and upright” yet we read that he lost it all. Nothing was safe from the wrath of the enemy, except the man himself, as he tried to tear Job down from every angle, breaking him so that he would curse the name of God. Job had it bad. But yet he kept his hope in God, even when people came against him –his own wife told him to curse God and his friends tried to find blame in him, attempting to convince him that he must have done something wrong, something to deserve what was happening in his life. Job did not shake, he did not fall. He stood firm in his faith, even though he couldn’t understand why he was getting it as badly as he had been. And then we read at the start of chapter 42 where Job accepts what had happened, confessing that he doesn’t understand, showing that God will bring us to a place during a storm, where we can accept his plan, even though we can’t understand it. bigger

In order to wrap our minds around the idea of accepting what we do not understand, there are two points Pastor delivered that we must accept and understand. The first was that your destiny is what determines your outcome. Too often we disregard our destiny and allow our difficulties to determine our outcome instead, causing our struggle to define our lives. I think about the movie, The Bucket List. Two men in a hospital room dying; rather than just die, they set out to experience life and gained more in the last years of their life than they ever had before. They did not allow their circumstance of terminal cancer to determine their outcome, but found that their destiny was to share experiences with one another, form a friendship and mend previously broken relationships with family. How many of us can say that we would have the faith to do the same? How many of us have had the faith to do the same? Job had it all taken from him and though he lived, even had his body attacked. But in spite of the difficulties, in spite of the negativity from the people around him, Job remained faithful in God, knowing that the problems did not dictate his outcome. Out of the storm, God speaks to Job and reminds him that He is in control and that He is with him. When we weather the storm with God before us, to our right and to our left, we should have the confidence to know that nothing that we undergo will determine the outcome that He has destined for us. In verse two of the selected reading Job responds to God by declaring His omnipotence; the New King James version records, “Then Job answered the Lord and said: I know that You can do everything. And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:1-2). We have to respect God’s sovereignty.  What He says goes, and so any and everything that has happened in our lives is because He has allowed it. Nothing that we do could ever determine God’s outcome; furthermore, nothing that anyone or anything has done to us can determine God’s outcome. Not people, not the enemy, not even sin can keep God’s plan from being seen through to total completion.  We cannot stop nor can we help God be God. Too often we try to get in the mix and have to be brought to a low place of trouble and heartache before we can understand. Many of us (I) have had to be taken to that place two and three (and twelve) times; we must remember that God has laid out our destiny and so everything else is secondary. I was most inspired when Pastor called attention to what Job confesses in verse three of the selected reading. He said, “…things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” Too often I try to question God and petition that I need to understand, but the reality is even if He laid it out for me in a PowerPoint with graphics, charts and graphs, I wouldn’t get it. God told us In Isaiah 55:8 that His thoughts are not our thoughts nor are His ways our ways. Although we will never fully understand the ways of God we must know that the wonder of what He has planned for us always outweighs the struggle –ALWAYS. God is pulling us to the great things He has for us, we must trust Him and see past our difficulties as we look toward Him.

 

Secondly Pastor informed us that it’s not about the examination, it’s about the experience. I was 21 when I got my license because I was afraid to take the test. The irony was that because I didn’t have my license I would never drive…yea, you read it right the first time. I had no experience driving so I couldn’t have passed the test if I ever got the courage to take it that is. It wasn’t until I began to experience driving (not just the rules that were written in the little booklet, I passed the written test the first time with a 98%) that I learned how to drive –the test didn’t teach me. Verse five tells us that after everything was said and done, Job saw God. He said, “I have heard You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (NKJV). We learned last week that God was with Job in the storm but still did not speak to him until the storm was over –“Out of the storm…” If God had rescued Job in the middle of the storm, Job would not have come to know God fully. We need the experience. We are all going through an exam given by God and God wants the exam to be a change within us and a relationship with Him. As we experience life fully, we should always be growing nearer to God. Difficulty in life is about being with God throughout. There’s an old saying that says that we would never enjoy the sunshine if it weren’t for the rain. We cannot expect, or even want, God to rescue us every time we start to get a little uncomfortable. It’s when we’ve come through our storm that we can reflect and see that the Lord is all we need. During both hard times and good we should be seeking God and listening for His voice. We cannot afford to allow ourselves to get so caught up in passing a test that we fail to experience God in the struggle. trust

When we realize that our lives are defined not by our problems, but by our purpose, not by our difficulties, but by our destiny, and not by our feelings but by our faith, we are able to come to a place where we can accept God’s plan and surrender to His will. God is in the midst of the storm with us, even better, He has gone before us. We do not, and will not, always like where God is taking us and what we are going through but because we know that our destiny is what defines our outcome and that it’s not about the examination, it’s about the experience, we can find peace in God’s perfect plan, knowing that He is working for our good even when we don’t understand:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight

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