I just stalled while reading the Old Testament. Really. It is discouraging to about people who continually rebel against God, even when they have experienced his deliverance, his glory, and his power.
Why do we continually forget what God has done in our lives? In the lives of the people who came before us?
Because we tend to focus on ourselves, our purposes, and desires.
We are like them. I am like them.
And then I lose track of who God is in my life.
I begin to think life is about me and what I want instead of about God's plan for his creation.
And so I got tired of reading through the Old Testament and wanted to see hope.
I had just finished reading Job when Mark Batterson began "Garden to the City," a one-year Bible reading plan. I thought, "Oh, good. They won't go through from beginning to end. They'll kind of stagger the Old Testament with the New Testament." I decided to start all over and read it with community. Check it out at http://fromgardentocity.com/home/ It's not too late to start reading.
They started with Psalm 119. I love Psalm 119.
And then they went into Job. Not my favorite book, and I wouldn't have chosen to read it again, but I think I need to remember the lessons of Job.
Sometimes we experience suffering and have no idea what is going on. God isn't punishing us. We can't see what is happening in the spiritual realm, what God is doing, what he has planned. We can choose to focus on God's character, his goodness, his love, or we can rebel against him and walk away from him.
Do we resent the success of the wicked and complain that God is ignoring us? Do we feel abandoned by him when we struggle with life?
And how do we treat our friends or people in our churches when their kids rebel, when they get sick, when their marriages fall apart? Are we like Job's friends? Do we find fault? Condemn? Assume their struggles are a result of their sin?
How often do we throw Christian cliches or Bible verses at them instead of simply loving them, mourning with them, helping them practically?
I think I have done all of these things at times.