The Rest of God
"Show me why You contend
with me" (Job 10:2)
On the day of the Long Beach Grand Prix, we were in a restaurant,
overlooking a bay next to the ocean. The day was cold and the water
was choppy from the considerable wind.
There was a narrow pier between us and the bay. A number of small
boats were tied to the inside of the pier and some were on the outer
side of it. The boats on the water inside the pier were calm and at
rest. The ones outside were frantically bobbing up-and-down, moved
by the current and the wind.
So it is with you and me. Our Harbor is Jesus Christ and we will
never be at peace until we rest in Him.
However, God will often do something that we find strange: He
will lead us out of the harbor of safety and into the storm (or what
FEELS like a storm to us). My "storm" may be easier than yours, or
yours than mine, but when it's personal, it is likely at the edge of
our ability to endure it. That's all right though - part of loving
that other person includes the understanding that our abilities to
endure the pains of life are not all the same. "Excruciating" for
one may be "within tolerable limits" for the other. We need to
accept the pains of one another, with just as much sincerity as we
accept their friendly overtures.
We typically don't want to go out into the storms of life. These
are not the storms of mountain climbing, or running a physical race,
although these may be part of the storms of our lives. These are the
ones like Job encountered, when he lost his money, his health, his
children, his friends, and what we might call his "quality of life".
Job, much like Job's friends, had many questions, and one is implied
in this verse - "Show me why You contend with
me" (Job 10:2). Job wanted to know what had gone wrong with
He decided, as we often do, that when his quality of life
diminished, it meant that God was displeased with him. He looked
around at the other "boats" safe in the harbor of life, and seeing
that his life had unexpectedly been thrust out into the storm,
thought he had somehow done something wrong. And then the other
implied question - if my life is "pure" and nothing is wrong with me
- then what is wrong with God? "I love You, my God, and I want to
serve You, so why are you against me?"
I have a friend who sails and when I asked him if the word
"tacking" was correct in relation to sailing into the wind, he said
- "No," and related that sailing into the wind is a process called
"beating to windward." He also told me about two other, related
activities. "Tacking" turned out to be changing your course when the
bow of the boat crosses the wind, and "Jibing" is when your
stern goes through the wind.
For a novice to perform such activities is difficult,
particularly for the first time, and you may have noticed that God
often calls us to "sail into the winds" of life, even when we don’t
know what we’re doing. Most want to stay in the "harbors" of life
but God will take us right out into the "storms". We are to be taken
from the place of "safety" (from an earthly perspective), and thrust
into places where we must learn to trust in Him.
There is a part of us which would be content to become and remain
a "bean-counter" of life, content to go through just the motions of
living. Emptying an in-basket can be familiar and comforting, and
the Lord may keep us within a repetitious environment for a long
time. But He wants even more than our safety – He wants your heart.
God wants us to become ALIVE, to the life of Christ Jesus within us.
Marriage vs. no marriage; job vs. no job; in jail vs. free, etc. –
the details of our lives are without a doubt extremely important to
us, but any "success" in this world is temporary. His true issues
for us are Faith in God vs. Unbelief – that is what is truly
important in your life and mine.
We must trust in Him. "Show me why You
contend with me" (Job 10:2) is the cry of many people, and
underneath the alcoholism, drug abuse, promiscuity, and other
self-destructive activities of humanity, is an anger at the "lot"
God has given them in life. We typically manage to look at that
which is external and temporary. God has in mind we will discover
that which is deep and lasting. He longs to satisfy your soul.
The "rest" of God can only come when we trust in Him. Jesus said
"Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). He is our
rest. To abide in Him is to finally be at peace with God. No more do
we have subtle "issues" with Him. No more of that feeling you’ve
somehow been "short-changed" by life (and by Him). Jesus Christ,
when you trust Him, gives you peace with God and rest for your soul.
Here is a wonderful Psalm, not only for those who go out onto the
sea, but also for those who encounter (as we all do) the storms of
"Those who go down to the sea in ships, who
do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and His
wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens,
they go down again to the depths, their soul melts because of
trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and
are at their wits' end. Then they cry out to the Lord in their
trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the
storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they
are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men
would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His
wonderful works to the children of men" (Psalm 107:23-31). We
must learn to give thanks to the Lord.
Jesus, we receive you. We finally understand that we are "fearfully
and wonderfully made" (just like David said in Psalm 139),
and the whole purpose of our lives is that we will give all to You.
Save us, Lord. Save us from our anger and our wishes that life might
somehow be "different" than it is. Here I am, Lord. Just as I am, I
come to you, and I put my trust in the Son of God. In Jesus Name.
Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries