Pick It Up, Beloved

Job 34:10: “Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to do wrong.”

Observation: This chapter finds Elihu on a roll, convinced he has the root of Job’s trouble all figured out: it’s Job! Though Elihu’s theories will require some adjustment in future reading, he did make a point worth further consideration when he said, “Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to do wrong.”

Application: To the casual reader, Job’s situation may seem remarkable for the breadth, the depth, and the extent of his troubles. Yet thoughtful reflection will bring remembrances that I have similar dark places in my life. Without such seasons, how could I ever hope to be conformed to the image of Christ? His life was anything but the cakewalk I so often feel I deserve. Yet lurking in the depths of my spirit is the dawning realization that to get an invitation to the wedding banquet at the end of this deal first requires that I pick up a cross. Not just any cross, but “my” cross, the one He has crafted just for me. The truth is, He knows I would never do that voluntarily. Flesh cries out for comfort and relief; my sense of self is convinced I deserve to have things go my way. 

One of the maddening things about God is that because He lives outside of time, He always remains exactly where I last dug in my heels. I may not freely move on from my last point of resistance though years may have passed. But when petulance has ended, He remains where I last encountered Him, gesturing lovingly toward my cross, saying, “Pick it up, beloved.” 

Elihu got one thing especially right: God’s very nature is justice personified. No unjust impulse ever entered the mind of God. “But if that’s true,” I sputter,” why is this, this . . .  thing I’m dealing with so hurtful? Why do I feel so alone in it?”  Beloved, it is the potter, not the clay, who sets the standard for beauty. It is only in His eternal mind that the image of me made perfect resides. I have captivated the heart of God yet remain staggered by that thought precisely because His view of me is so different than mine. What I view as His unjustness, unfairness, even meanness, He knows to be essential in light of His passion that I would one day be like Christ.

Prayer: Father, Your ways are so vastly different from mine, I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever get it right. I’m so thankful that You see the end from the beginning. Cause me to cooperate with Your processes in my life, Lord. I surrender!

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