Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? Job 2:10
The book of Job begins with the same rhetorical question that it ends with— “shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” To discern God’s sovereignty in all our circumstances is a mature form of wisdom. And the submissive posture that it implies suggests a trusting faith whereby God’s goodness is not solely measured by our own sense of personal loss or gain. We are prepared to accept both from His hand.
Consider how this applies to your own experience of life. How do you relate to loss and gain in your life? How do you interpret God’s hand in your changing circumstances, or even in the changing vitality of spirit that you feel from day to day?
On some days we feel strong, and on others we feel weak. For a season we might wax courageous, only to find ourselves, in another season, weak and plagued by doubt and fear. We enjoy times of uncanny grace when all things seem to be going our way, and then are dismayed when everything seems to fall apart. We naturally accept the one set of experiences as from God, and yet immediately reject the other as not part of the divine plan. But might even our difficult situations be an invitation to a maturity of faith that is more disposed to “find God in all things?”
When I go from one success to another I am quick to acknowledge the Lord’s hand in this. But as soon as something is taken away from me, I am just as quick to assume that this is not from God. Does the same Lord who gives me life, not also take it away? If I bless God when I feel strong and attribute to His purposes when I am inspired to faith, should I not also bless Him when I am weak and uninspired? Does not the same God allow for both strength and weakness in my life? On some days my thinking can be very sharp while on others it is dull. Some of my prayer times are very focused whereas others wander aimlessly. Should I not recognize and accept the Lord’s purposes in the ways He limits me, as much as in the ways He opens my path? If I praise God for giving me seasons of spiritual passion and zeal should I not also thank His wisdom for the fallow times, even if these are the result of my own negligence? Should I not welcome the discomfort that my waywardness produces in me as a sign of God’s grace?
As we acknowledge the Lord in all our ways we are more apt to find God in all things. Though we do what we can to prosper, faith always presumes that the loving hand of God is secretly at work for the good of His purposes in all the ebbs and flows of our lives.
Consider the following prayer. Can you welcome these words as an invitation to a more contemplative posture of faith? They will encourage a greater dependence on God as the One who gives to each, according to what is needed for His good purposes in their lives.
A Prayer, In All Circumstances Of Our Life
If I am weak, I will accept the life You give me.
If I am ineffective, I will accept the life You give me.
If I am uninspired, unmotivated and unable to save myself,
I will accept the life You give me.
I will not presume upon the strength I have
but will accept the spirit I receive each day
as the very measure of life You grant me.
I will welcome even the poverty of my spirit
and offer it as an instrument through which
Your purposes unfold in and through my life.
The Lord gives, and the Lord withholds
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
The Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.