A few months ago, I sat alone on my back patio with my Bible spewed open on my lap, with a cup of jo within arm’s reach. It was a time of solitude, which in Christian circles is referred to as a quiet time. As I sat there, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the utter beauty of singing birds and fluttering butterflies, I began conversing with God. One simple request kept floating through my mind:
“Lord, teach me to pray.”
Now, of course, I knew how to pray. Anyone can pray. But what I was really after was a desire to know God more. To know Him in such a way that my heart affections are emotionally stirred. To be able to sit still for a mere moment and hear His voice. To be more keenly aware of His presence in the reality of this thing called life.
I wanted to be moved by prayer.
I wanted to be changed by prayer.
I wanted to know God more.
What does your prayer life look like?
The book of Job is named after a man who suffered greatly. In one ordinary day, he lost everything. His livestock, his servants, and his ten children. Gone. Completely destroyed. In response, we see Job tear his clothing and shave his head as he begins the arduous process of mourning. Unfortunately, Satan isn’t finished reeking havoc and returns by inflicting Job with hideous, unbearable skin sores. His face was so disfigured that his closest friends did not readily recognize him and when they came closer, they fell to the ground in pity (Job 2:12). The pain was so excruciating, we see Job asking God to take his life (Job 3).
At this point in the story, his wife casts blame on God and urges her husband to do the same. Put yourself in her shoes. In one day you lose all of your babies who you nursed and held tightly in your arms. You become homeless without a single belonging to your name. You are hungry, forced to beg outside of the town dump. Riches to rags in a matter of minutes. Your worse nightmare becoming your new reality.
How would you respond?
Something extraordinary should be noted. In the midst of calamity and uncertainty, Job never turns away from God or denies His existence. We watch him wrestle with God in the midst of his suffering through prayer. We hear his complaints as he cries out to God for help. We can feel this man’s pain as we skim the pages.
As we ponder the book of Job, one must wonder, “Is it possible to love God and God alone? Is He truly all that I need?” Could I live without lattes and pedicures and an occasional shopping spree? Could I bear the thought of losing my home, and all of my financial security? Could I stand being ugly…to the point where no one even recognized me…or would I bow my head in shame and dismay? And what if I lost my family?
Would I still be able to say, “God, I love you more than anything?”
The only way Job survived such catastrophic events was by living a life of prayer. We watch his faith mature and his view of God expand in the book of Job. A man who once was filled with grumbling and complaining is moved to confession and repentance. A man who repeatedly makes his appeal before the Lord becomes overwhelmed in awe with the presence of God.
We see Job move away from merely a head knowledge of who God is towards a personal, intimate relationship. God is no longer someone Job only reads about in the books of the Law. God is someone Job personally knows and has experienced.
“My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.”
Be encouraged…you CAN love God more than anything in this world! Our faith CAN deepen through the good and the bad.