“Have we come to the place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect our trust in Him?”
Oswald Chambers’ question, from his October 23rd devotional in My Utmost for His Highest, is what I term the “ouch question.” An insightful challenge, Chambers’ ouch-inducing question demands a convicting look at the purpose and priorities of my life. My usual prayer format: Thank you God for ——,——, and ——. Please do —— in ——’s life. Amen. In other words, I express gratitude for past and current blessings and then add my requests for more. How selfish and self-centered—as if I am using a formulaic method to get what I want. I echo my mother’s advice to say please and thank you, but in a perfunctory way that does not acknowledge the God of the bigger picture.
The omnipotent God may not bring healing. He may not ease my friend’s suffering. He may not ease someone’s money woes. God may not stop the onset of a bigger challenge than what I see when I request help with the immediate problem. I am so very ignorant of God’s bigger picture and higher purposes.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. Job 1:21b.
Note the juxtaposition as Job acknowledged his God-given gifts and recognized his losses in the same sentence. He then concluded his prayer with a respectful desire to praise and honor the Lord. Anyway. In spite of. No matter what happened. Job did not sin with his lips even after his bitter wife told him to curse God and die (Job 2:9-10). Likely still sitting in the ashes scraping himself to ease the pain and itching of his sores (Job 2:7-8), Job’s words continued to resound with faithfulness to God.
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. Job 19:25
God used Job, in the depths of his suffering, to express a Messianic prophecy. There was no changing of loyalty, no defection, no change in Job’s commitment to God. Yes, some anger and venting expressed straight to God, but no backtracking on his faith. Actually, Job’s resolve to follow God seemed to increase even as his friends accused him. Job remained faithful.
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Job 13:15
The King James version says “yet will I trust in him.” In the midst of his trials, Job obeyed steadfastly and trusted God’s outcome. That is the kind of heart that would answer yes to Oswald Chambers’ question. Job’s heart did not love conditionally based on blessings given. Job exemplified a steadfast, ongoing love that did not depend on current circumstances or diminish in the face of suffering. Such true faith did not waiver in trusting or hoping in God. Instead, Job’s faith rested securely in God.
Lord, Oswald Chambers’ question really hurts. Ouch. Forgive my hesitance and fear in asking, but please grow my faith. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.