God of unimaginable grace

Grace is a quality spoken of little by the world, yet we depend upon it for everything in life. I’m thankful for the Bible’s record of Job, who suffered unimaginably, yet he never lost sight of God’s grace in the nightmares of his life. It’s a peculiar human trait, we thank God for the pleasant things, and blame Him for the unpleasant. Into our human struggles of life, Job offers a refreshing perspective on God and His grace.

Job, having lost all his children, everything he owned, all his riches, all but four friendly messengers, his good health, and his public reputation, is left with a complaining wife who advised him to “curse God and die” (Job 1-2). As if that wasn’t enough, he had to endure three so-called friends who tormented him with false allegations of sin which they claimed were the cause of all his problems. His life had been hijacked by the miseries inflicted by Satan, leaving him with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head (Job 2:7). Isolated from society, Job lived at the local rubbish dump, scraping his sores with pieces of broken pottery.

Job 3:1 shows us the raw wound of suffering as he cursed the day of his birth. Job spoke honestly with God saying, my complaint is bitter (Job 23:2), and God listened to his openhearted lament. In times of greatest need, Job knew abandonment; my relatives have failed me, my close friends have forgotten me (Job 19:14), all my intimate friends abhor me, and those whom I loved have turned against me (Job 19:19). At this point, Job looked up with resurrection hope; I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:25-26).

Despite how we may feel towards God when suffering, He never uses His position of authority to become disinterested or disengaged. Job asked, would he (God) contend (debate) with me in the greatness of his power? No; he would pay attention to me (Job 23:6). Too often, grace is thought of as soft, or even weak, yet Job testifies to the opposite. Gracious God met Job during the nightmare providing inner faith resources while waiting for physical relief to be dispensed. Mistakenly, suffering people sometimes think that God isn’t interested, or, that He is so offended that He turns His back on us. But the opposite is true, when damaged and suffering sinners call to the Almighty, He gives attention.

Job acknowledges in chapter 23:13-14, he (God) is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind. Like Job, we can take assurance from the Lord’s willingness to listen and to invisibly work out His plans in His timing, for His glory, and our blessing. But none of this happens in an instant, although we may wish it would. Suffering is often the path required to expose grace, patience, and faithfulness. In God’s unchangeable nature, he never turns His back on His children, even during times when we fail to recognise His presence. His purposes are always fulfilled, even though we may hate, or resist, His choice of tools used to accomplish them.

God’s grace gifts the suffering believer with the required faith to enable perseverance. Grace is by no means cowardly or rebellious. Rather, grace perseveres while reaching out in desperation for divine resources to endure. God’s grace enables even the feeblest person to stand on solid ground because they know the Lord’s presence and His eternal purposes are infinitely higher than ours.

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