READ: Job 1-3, Psalm 150, Luke 17, Revelation 1

GOD’S ADVERSITY

Grief and worship are complementary. We treat them as opposites when in reality they coexist. “Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped” (Job 1:20).  We tend to bifurcate our times of loss and pain from our times of praise and worship. Job models for us the coexistence of grief and worship saying, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (v. 21). He even (in his agony) reminds his wife: “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity” (2:10)? Times of grief are incredible opportunities for worship; neither mutes the other.

Accepting allowed adversity from God is problematic for us and would be questionable if it were not so clearly spelled out in Scripture. God says to Satan concerning Job: “He is in your power…He is in your hand” (1:12, 2:6). God put His choice servant in the hand, under the power, of Satan, allowing Satan to afflict Job. This allowance was not without hedges [“only do not lay a hand on his person” (1:12), but “spare his life” (2:6)], but all the same, God’s man was put in the hands of Satan to be afflicted.

When Jesus trusts us enough to allow Satan to afflict us, it raises the question as to whether we trust Him enough to be afflicted. In God’s view, trust does not seem to be percentage based. We either have faith (trust) or we do not. We can’t partially trust Jesus. We have to be all in. In Luke 17:5-10 the disciples ask for increased faith. Jesus intriguingly points out that even a little faith can do the impossible–cast a tree into the sea. He seems to imply that comprehensive nature of trust. We can’t trust Jesus partially–it’s all or nothing. Or better said, the faith that pleases God is an all encompassing, comprehensive faith. It is a faith (a trust) that accepts adversity as well as good from God because it trusts that God has a good reason for the adversity allowed.

Jesus, as is His way, addresses the motive for our request for faith. In the Luke context, Jesus goes on in the discourse to remind us that we are unprofitable servants, assigned to serve. This implies the disciples (and we ourselves) wanted greater faith in order to do greater deeds, to get their way. Jesus reminds us that faith is purposed in us that we might do His will and that He might get His way. We tend to want increased faith so we can do great things and get great recognition. Jesus wants us to have faith (to trust Him enough) to do small things, difficult things, that He gets great glory. We do all things, accepting all the adversity of God, that we have been commanded to do (17:10) by faith, knowing we are “unprofitable” servants. Faith is not about us. Faith is our trust all things are to revolve around God, and that both good and adversity can be turned by God towards His fame.

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