Seeing the Redeemer Through the Rain

by Vicki Johnson

Have you ever wondered about those people? You know, the ones who seem to get the blessing all the while they’re complaining and grumbling? I was thinking about this as I was doing housework on a rainy day. The verse from Matthew 5:45 that says,  “…He causes His sun to rise on {the} evil and {the} good, and sends rain on {the} righteous and {the} unrighteous.” Sun and rain, in their seasons are blessings. Some blessings, in various forms, are given to all simply because our good God has prescribed it. But sun and rain out of season can cause grief and pain. So, my thoughts, as they tend to do, wandered and paused on a book from the Old Testament: Job. If it EVER rained torrentially or scorched a person to the bone, it was Job.

Job was described as blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil and the greatest of all the men of the east. What a guy. He had numerous sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys. A host of servants.  Ten children whom he loved and prayed for continually. And one wife.

This blameless man was chosen to prove that God was worthy to be worshipped, even if all earthly blessings were stripped away. So it began. One by one, all he possessed and loved were taken away, eventually, even his health. Except for his wife.

Mrs. Job has only one thing to say to her hubby and she muffed it. “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” This woman, the mother of his children, also benefitted from Job’s wealth and prestige as his wife. But she also suffered the loss of her children as well as the rest of their earthly riches. Sun and rain for both.

Integrity is easy to hold on to when life’s good. It’s the testing of integrity that determines how deeply it goes. Though Job struggles to understand why he is suffering at every turn, yet he clings to the one absolute truth that keeps him drawing breath, “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God;” (Job 19:25-26) Job, because he is a righteous man, came to a point of humility saying, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)

Job’s intense suffering comes to an end. God restores his fortune twice fold. He father’s 10 children: seven boys and three beautiful girls. He lives another 140 years, seeing his sons and grandsons. No mention of a new wife, so Mrs. Job partakes of the restored blessing also. But, where is her proclamation of faith and confession? Her life had its ups and downs; sunshine and rain. But how did she fare in her relationship with the Lord? Her terse comment to her boil-ridden husband is the last we ever hear of her. Truly a sad and faithless epitaph to have on one’s gravestone.

On the other hand, Job’s righteous testimony and tenacious trust in God has stood the test of time and served as a beacon of hope to countless generations.  He understood that the sunshine and rain would cease; his security is founded on neither.  No, Job’s true hope and joy was anchored in the Lord of Life, his Redeemer through the rain.

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Be Amazed! Be Amazed!

by Barb Moland

God’s grace – that is amazing! Our summer Bible camp pastor reminded us again and again – be amazed! Be amazed in God’s Word. I slipped a strip of paper in my Bible – “be amazed!”

Our back yard is partially under the canopy of our much loved large Rainier cherry tree. Viewed from a spacious kitchen window, it is glorious year round – I am amazed! It is beautiful from the beauty of every branch and twig in winter against the gray/blue sky (or a most glorious wet snow on every twig angle at the rare snowfall) to the bursting of white blossoms, center blushed in pink in early spring. The deep green canopy of leaves rustle in a gentle breeze over our yard through the summer, providing shade if desired. When autumn comes every leaf turns a vibrant yellow that glows in the sun and becomes yet more radiant at twilight. I am amazed! The cycle of life – creation and onward, speaks poignantly to God’s amazing grace. Be amazed!

God’s provision in Christ is yet far, far more amazing!

In spite of ourselves, God has sent a Redeemer for us – creating us, then patiently, lovingly buying us back to Himself. Galatians 4:4,5 (CEV) – When the time was right, God sent His Son, and a woman gave birth to Him. His Son obeyed the Law, so He could set us free from the Law, and we could become God’s children.

In spite of ourselves, God has provided a help for each hour of the day, along life’s way. II Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) – My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Is spite of ourselves, He has given us His peace. John 14:27 NIV) – Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

In spite of ourselves, He has promised to keep us. Philippians 1:6 (NIV) – He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

For this and more, we praise and thank our loving God. As we completed “Pearls for a Princess”, our 2012 WMF Bible study, we gathered our hearts in the pearl of praise.

Be amazed! – every year, every season, every day, every moment. Looking to God’s Word we find the amazing grace of God offered so lovingly and freely to each of us, in spite of ourselves. The framework of redemption from creation through the accounts of biblical history and lineage of Christ, as well as Christ types, is indeed amazing. The New Testament gospels bring the incarnation of Christ right to us! We go on the early Christian church writings and messages regarding the return of Christ. This is amazing!

This grace was surely offered to the great, great missionary of all time, Paul. Quoting Beth Moore in Jesus’ watch from eternity on Saul’s (later Paul’s) presence in the stoning of Stephen in To Live Is Christ Day by Day:

One for Him; one against Him. One covered in blood: the other covered by prayer shawls. One who could not save himself from men: the other who could not save himself from sin. One dead in body but alive in spirit; the other alive in body but dead in spirit. One loved by God; and the other loved by God.

BE AMAZED!