A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line - Stuff Happens

18Aug

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900). You can find other devotions, sermons, essays, articles, and announcements on The Cove Community blog. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

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Job 1:6-19

One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil." Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him!" So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

One day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell on them and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was still speaking, another came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was still speaking, another came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three columns, made a raid on the camels and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was still speaking, another came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house, and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you."

Stuff Happens

Now, I’ve got to admit, I think this is a really hard passage for a lot of Christians to understand, you know, this business about God letting Satan do horrible things to Job and his household to show that Job’s faith was real. As a matter of fact, if I didn’t believe that this is just a story with a meaning and not a historical event that reflects the inner nature of God, I’m not sure I could see the Lord as appreciatively different than Zeus. But fortunately, that’s not the case, at least not for me, because I do believe this is a story that makes several points about the nature of life and not the relationship between God and Satan.

And I think it’s safe to say that one of those points is this: stuff happens. That’s it: stuff happens. In other words, within our lives, things occur that we might never understand, but that shape who we are and how we see God. And sadly, our faith and relationship with God doesn’t excuse of from this stuff. And I think that’s something important to know, because when we assume that we’re somehow immune to all the mess that other people confront and overcome, we’re going to be both surprised and unprepared when that stuff happens to us.
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