In our American Christian culture, we look at the suburban mom as someone to hold in esteem especially if her home is beautiful, her husband has a good paying job, her children are perfect and they all go to church every Sunday. I’ve had all those things and I thought I was finally blessed. After all the preacher said, “God wants to bless you.” So, we went further into “the blessing” and pursued the dream of owning our home in the country. We looked for years for land we could afford and poured over home designs that we could build for our forever home.
Finally, we found the land, sold our house and chose a builder. I left my sister who lived a few blocks away and moved into a travel trailer. We started the process of it all and I can tell you we moved hell on earth to get where we are today. At every turn we met liars and the most covetous people imaginable. God would allow me to see their deceit one by one from realtors, electric companies, builders, contractors and so called neighbors. We moved to a community of people who hurt and covet others so deeply that even the local government participates. While I have been in my new home my mother has died and then my sister. My brother’s doled out my mother’s estate to themselves, feeling justified because she gave money to my sons for college three years before her death, and one has even forced the sell of her house to himself at an unfair price. I have been sued by a local woman over defective window blinds that I didn’t even have and the local judge awarded her the money without ever hearing the case. This was particularly painful to me because it was a complete character assassination at a very difficult time in my life without my mother and sister to support me. Now we know! How could we have been so driven to take ourselves into a season of such pain and suffering? Didn’t God want to bless us? We aren’t under His blessing we are under the curse. I have been shaken to my very core.
People can only stand so much pain and suffering without looking at you and wondering what sins you have committed that God is judging you. It’s an age old story. Remember Job whom God allowed Satan to sift. Yes, read it, God allowed it. Job 2:3: Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” In the rest of the chapter Satan inflicts the worst kind of evil upon Job, his wife told him to curse God and die, his friends sat with him without a word because they were overwhelmed by his suffering. After seven days of silence the debate begins and chapter after chapter, thirty-seven to be exact, Job and his friends argue the reasons why God is allowing his suffering.
In Chapter 38, the Lord speaks, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you understand Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or Who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? God continues to ask Job, “Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water?” “Can you pull in the leviathan (a huge deadly creature) with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope?”
Job speaks in Chapter 42, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?‘ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” “You said, ‘Listen now and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” After this exchange between God and Job, Chapter 42 says, ” The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.”
I have been shaken and God is removing what can be shaken to leave what is unshakable – Him. Hebrews Chapter 12, verse 28: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire.” I am not certain that He will choose to bless me on this earth again. The only thing I am certain of is this is not “it”. We are not destined to live in this fallen state. There will be a time, an eternal time, that matters more than these fleeting moments.
What if this isn’t a curse and indeed a blessing and God is refining me? I won’t know for sure until the suffering is over. I am still in the midst of it and struggling. Isaiah 54:10 says, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.