Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Boils, volcanos, and flaming passion





The other day my boys were making up a story about going back in time but bringing along modern tools. It was a really good story!

Sometimes time travel seems like the perfect and only solution. "Oh, if only I could go back and keep my mouth shut!"  "If I could just have one more chance to tell him I loved him..." "If I knew then what I know now, I would've..."

I can think of a time I would like to try over. I was in college and someone VERY close to me said (get ready for it) that my adorable, very trendy and my-favorite-because-I-got-such-a-great-deal-on-it jacket was...cheap looking.

Oh yeah. They said that.

Huh uh.

I was in a hurry to leave for class but I skidded to a halt. What? My yellow jacket looked CHEAP? It's on now...suddenly, every silent criticism that had been festering in my unthankful heart began to erupt out of my big mouth like the Mauna Loa volcano breaking up.

An hour or so later, I stormed out of the house, late for school but having spoken my mind. It wasn't until I returned home that evening that I realized how badly I had hurt my dear loved one with my words. Another family member pulled me aside and explained quietly that I had done damage that wouldn't be fixed overnight. I hurried to ask forgiveness, which was given me, but I could tell something was still broken inside my loved one.

It took a year for that precious relationship to even resemble what it had been. A year to regain the trust I lost with one slip of my wild tongue.

AAARRGH!! See what I mean about time travel? I know now how badly my words can hurt! But wait...even back then, I knew it. I knew--KNEW--better than to go off like I did. But still, I did it! Why?

Because my emotions were boss at the moment. They swept me right past my mind that knew better before it could stop me.

Passion is a dangerous place. God has made it possible for us to learn to turn off our emotions when we they are telling us to disregard our brains.

In the last few posts, wives of unfortunate men in the Bible have shown us by their examples what NOT to do if we want to let our good sense conquer our wild emotions.

Lot's wife taught us that when you allow yourself to get in a spot where your authority cannot see you, when you know if you slip no one is looking, you are very near the edge of the cliff.

Potiphar's wife taught us that when you don't have your eyes cast on your own authority in a loving, admiring, thankful way, you are very vulnerable for falling for--and causing to fall--the best of men.

The Bible tells us one more story of an unnamed wife who allowed her out-of-control emotions to get the best of her. Her husband was wealthy, wise, and wonderful. They had ten children, seven sons and three daughters, many thousands of head of livestock, and a very great household of servants. Everyone looked up to her husband. She was sitting pretty.

Unbeknownst to her, her husband's name was being discussed far away. In the highest of places. In heaven, God was pointing out her husband, Job, to Satan as an example of a man unequaled on earth in uprightness. The Lord said unto Satan, "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?"

Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, "Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face."

And the Lord said unto Satan, "Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand." So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

Immediately the blows began to fall. In a frenzy to watch God's choice servant curse God, Satan rapidly annihilated everything Job and his wife held dear. Including all ten of their children. In perverse anticipation, the devil watched with bated breath so as to not miss a syllable of Job's cursings. Instead, he heard, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

Probably quaking with rage but endeavoring to appear unflustered, Satan again listened as God displayed Job's unshaken trust.

Satan was convinced Job could still be brought to curse the God who loved him. Satan answered the Lord, and said, "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face." And the Lord said unto Satan, "Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life."

With even greater ferocity, DETERMINED that this time, God would be cursed, Satan struck Job's body from head to toe with flaming boils, pus-filled and grody. The now destitute Job sat among the ashes and scraped the pus with a piece of a broken pot.

Ugh.

Now, imagine Job's sad wife. Every blow he has been dealt, she felt too. She saw now the added pain of the boils and she just...boiled over! With whom did she side?

Then said his wife unto him, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die."

Curse God, and die!?

Hmmm...wonder where she got that idea! Did she have any idea whom she was helping? Had she any clue that she was throwing her weight behind the loser in an epic battle in which her husband was the human hero? That she was not seeing the whole picture; that much better days were ahead if she could just wait it out?

Whether she understood it or not, surely Mrs. Job knew what she was saying was not wise. But in the heat of the hour, when violent emotions were gripping her and everything she held dear had been stripped away, Mrs. Job lacked the soberness to withstand the fires of angry passion.

Why was she in the grip of emotion? Perhaps because she was not like her husband. God said there was none like him in all the earth. If anyone could have been like him, it would have been his mate. Instead, perhaps she trusted that his faith would be strong enough to carry them both when storms came.

His faith stood. But she did not. In the fire of loss, she fell hard and almost succeeded in bringing him down with her.

So what can we learn from Mrs. Job? Much.

Most especially, we must learn that faith in God is personal. It doesn't subliminally seep into us by being close with someone who is close to God, not even our husband or parents. Each of us must choose to turn our own eyes on Jesus, not because we are told to but because we realize He really did first love us and he has great things in store for us, even in our darkest hours!

Now, what do you see? Have I missed something about Mrs. Job that may have helped her lack Soberness? Please share if you discover something!

And the greatest thing about Mrs. Job? God didn't give up on her! When he gave Job twice as much as He had before, He also gave them ten more children.

What a kind and gracious God! And He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thanks to Jesus!