An Honest Prayer: Part 3

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53 Responses

  1. Josh says:

    Thank you Michael. As a formal “no creed but the bible” guy, I am struggling to navigate this new world.

  2. Josh says:

    Former, not formal.

  3. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Once I allowed myself to ask questions without fear of damnation…or loss of others approval…things started to come together for me.

    There are things I don’t understand…the OT raises lots of ethical questions as well as historical ones.

    I do know I love the book more than I ever have and that is quite the surprise…

  4. Josh says:

    That inspires hope. Haven’t gotten there yet, but have been brave enough to imagine that in the futue.

  5. Michael says:

    Josh,

    In some way I don’t understand, all of this allowed me to find a deep love for Jesus and a trust I never really knew before.

    Your process doesn’t have to look like mine…Jesus raises all His kids uniquely, like He made them…

  6. Donner says:

    Yippee!

  7. Officerhoppy says:

    These last 3 posts on prayer totally capture where I am at. Been in church since the day I was born (literally). I was confirmed and baptized into the lutheran church before being thrust into Pentecostalism then CC..

    We were taught, or it was inferred, that doubt is a sin (even though most of the great men and women of god doubted) and to never question scripture or the pastor.

    But then I started asking questions.

    So, like Josh, I really appreciate this series of articles on prayer.

    I think your thoughts resonate with a lot of folks

  8. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    I hope they encourage some hope and discussion…I’m also well aware that they will make me a target…but that’s ok…

  9. LInn says:

    Michael,

    Good thoughts! I remember someone explaining to me that Christianity wasn’t transactional, and I was absolutely floored. Of course it was-if I did good things for God, He would do good things for me. That’s not the way He works at all. I do get HIm…all of HIm that I could ever need, and He alone should be enough.

  10. Michael says:

    Linn,

    The transactional component is really one of the toughest to get past…even when you know that’s not how it works…

  11. BrianD says:

    Michael,

    I feel like the Lord wants me to say this to you, and say it here.

    I sense the Holy Spirit in your words. No one else that I know of are saying the things you are saying, and they need to be said, and heard.

    You still very much have a ministry, by the way. Your faith in God and obedience to Him are carrying you forward. Your reward won’t be here, it’ll be in heaven, but you will be rewarded.

    You show me, and others, what it is like to follow Jesus.

    If you ever write a newsletter, I’d like to be on the mailing list.

    BD

  12. Michael says:

    BrianD

    Thank you, my friend.

    I’m just trying to finish well…unloading the wagon of what I’ve acquired through the years…hoping to make a difference.

    You would be one of the first I’d sign up if we move to that format…you’ve been a part of this from the start.

  13. Muff Potter says:

    Michael wrote:
    “Questioning the Bible in any way was to question God and questioning the interpreter of the Bible was usurping authority…both grave sins in the places I dwelled.”

    I used to live there too Michael.
    Not any more.
    The Bible is a great and wonderful thing to be sure.
    But I also think that it suffers from abuse and misuse.
    It’s prone to two great ills, not giving it the credence it deserves at one extreme, and making way too much of it at the other.

  14. JD says:

    I can’t believe that while I was in the hospital the nurses tried to give me fentanyl for pain. Home and losing sleep from pain and wheezing isn’t fun but I am still trying to unpack that. Hard to read more than one page or so and I m glad that I kept it up for many years.

    Have Mercy on me
    Give Wisdom to me
    Show Favor to me
    Show Kindness to me
    Have Mercy on me

  15. Terry says:

    At the end of Job, after Job has done nothing but question God and complain about his situation, God says to Job’s friends:
    “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”

  16. Josh says:

    Job makes zero sense to me.

  17. JD says:

    It looks at the question: “Why do the godly suffer?” I believe that the answer is assuredly they will, God allows it, and ultimately He will deliver us from it for all eternity. Thus we can be encouraged by this book through the example of Job.
    Just my opinion, you may find your own.

  18. Michael says:

    I’m with Josh…I find Job to be highly problematic.

    According to the book, the godly suffer because of Yahwehs gambling habit…

  19. filistine says:

    The best treatment I have read regarding Job is by Herman Wouk in War and Remembrance–the part when the Jewish prisoners mush reckon with their impending deaths and the Rabbi addresses his congregation using Job. I think it takes a Jew to unlock the book.

    bingo on the prayer series–excellent.

  20. Michael says:

    fil,

    Thanks, my friend…hoping some folks found it helpful.

  21. filistine says:

    “mush”??! must.

    junior high spell check.

  22. Officerhoppy says:

    I’m with Michael

    All of Job’s problems were the result of a wager between God and Satan

    Job hangs in there fending off the criticisms of his friends and wife.

    Then in the last part of the book, Job asked, essentially, why is all this crap happening to me a righteous man? God bellows back, “who are you to question me?”

    Then, like all fiction or a country song played backwards, he gets his truck back, his cattle, and his health. One big happy ending

    But I think I find it hard to serve a God who took my kid’s life – even though he got a new family

  23. Alan says:

    Read job through the cross and though the Christ. Nothing else makes sense.

    I am not a man in Job. I am in Christ. The union with Christ at his table is life itself.

    He gave himself for us and to us. We live in Union and communion with him. He is ever present through his flesh and blood given to us and received in the Holy Spirit.

    There is life abundant.

  24. Josh says:

    “Read job through the cross and though the Christ. ”

    I’d like to know what that means, if you have time.

  25. Em says:

    Alan, AMEN

  26. Em says:

    Josh and Michael, Job has much to teach us …. IMHO

  27. Michael says:

    I’ve never gleaned much from it, Em…but it’s Scripture and there is value there.

  28. Em says:

    “Have you considered my servant, Job?”

  29. Josh says:

    Em, I’m sure you are correct, I just can’t figure out what it is that I’m supposed to be gleaning.

  30. Em says:

    Josh, ever been tested by God?

  31. Josh says:

    Em, I hope not. I hope the torture that I am currently enduring is not a “test” from God. If so, I am out. What I go through daily right now, I would not wish on my worst enemy, much less my own children.

    In Jobs case, if an “all-knowing” God had to test Job by killing his kids…that’s insanity. I don’t understand it, and don’t really want to. That’s not how a good father acts.

  32. Em says:

    Josh, you will be in my prayers…..
    strength of mind and body and the wisdomm and discernment that comes from an understanding and fear of God
    As I now pray for Michael and the Captain

  33. Josh says:

    Thanks Em. Sincerely. My fam can definitely use the prayers.

  34. Em says:

    faith and prayer go together ….. somehow

  35. Officerhoppy says:

    We’ll said Josh

    Job, IMO, is bad press for God.

    Kills Job’s kids because of a bet between God and Satan.

    Should change the name of the book to “The Gambler”

    How can anyone vindicate God in Job? I don’t know how, but Christians do.

    I want an answer rather than just blindly accept every thing God does saying he’s sovereign- he’s gonna do what he wants to do without accountability; but he’s a good god

    I don’t see that god I’d good in Job.

    Sorry. I don’t want to be a pain on this one but I don’t like the book of Job.

  36. Jean says:

    Officerhoppy,
    Can you judge whether an early start in heaven for Jobs kids was inferior to a couple extra decades spent in this sin-filled world?

  37. Em says:

    jean? AMEN ! ! !

  38. Em says:

    I was walking down the hospital hall with a nurse – she pointed to all the sick children and said something – I don’t remember what now
    I thought to myself, “I don’t care if the all die, if Robbie can live.”
    I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see who was there. no one
    And I heard a voice say (nurse didn’t), “If there was any other way, this wouldn’t be happening!”
    I felt a peace sweep over me that was so intense. We lost Robbie to encephalitis and my Mother, an unbeliever, snarled “You never loved that child!” Yes, I have forgivven her…..

  39. Jean says:

    Without faith in the gospel of Christ crucified for your sins and raised for your justification, God according to human reasons appears either absent/nonexistent or capricious. But with such faith, one will recognize that this temporal life is not the main event. It’s just a blip in the course of eternity. The situation of Job was not unlike the man in John 9 or Peter or Paul. In each case God deemed them worthy to display his works in them through their circumstances.

  40. Michael says:

    I find some of these responses odd and even disturbing.

    God slaughters a mans family to win a bet and some of you think that’s a good thing for God to do.

    What this says to me is that some folks fear thinking at all critically about the text…and I don’t think that is either healthy or holy.

  41. Jean says:

    I am open to reading any other applications or interpretations of Job, as long as they are faithful to the text.

  42. Em says:

    IMHO – there is a good conversation going on here

  43. Michael says:

    Jean,

    With Job, the text is the problem.

    God allows Satan to wipe out a mans family and all that constituted his life on a bet with the devil.

    The moral of the story os that God can do as He pleases because He’s God.

    I’ll stay in the NT , thanks…

  44. Jean says:

    Could the moral of the story be: Don’t judge me or your blessedness by what you experience in this temporal life, but judge me and your blessedness according to my promises given you in the gospel and in the sacraments?

  45. Michael says:

    Which promises?

    I won’t ever teach his book again…you simply have to do too many moral gymnastics to make it work.

  46. Jean says:

    This confession, so early in God’s plan of salvation is absolutely breathtaking! It reflects the heartfelt trust Job had in the promises of God in the midst of afflictions that most of us can scarcely imagine.

    “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!”
    ‭‭Job‬ ‭19‬:‭25‬-‭27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

  47. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Great verse…doesn’t change the terrible narrative.

  48. Officerhoppy says:

    Jean
    Appreciate your comment. But, do you have kids?
    Would you be happy if god took your children as a result of a wager?
    How would you personally, receive the counsel you just gave?
    Just asking you to think

  49. Jean says:

    Officerhoppy,

    There was never a wager. God forenew how Job would react to each event beforehand. Everything that happened to Job and his family (and us) happened according to God’s foreknowledge.

    If I have profligate adult children, I may wish that God would take them before they fall away. I would rather see them given rest from their labor, than their given only condemnation. But I nevertheless confess that God is just and that he works all things together for the good of those who love him.

    So I cannot judge God who is above me.

  50. Captain Kevin says:

    Alan, I too would sincerely like if you could expound on what you mean by reading Job through the cross.

  51. Terry says:

    I added Job to the conversation because the book gave me the freedom to question and vent to God. Before that, I simply took every verse as somehow instructions on how to live, and not to be questioned.

    I consider Job either fully fiction, or a fictionalized story based on an actual person. The opening is a crazy setup for the monologues that follow. I don’t consider it intended as “here is a picture of what God and the Devil are up to in heaven”.

  52. Michael says:

    Terry,

    I think I agree with you…well said.

  53. Janet Linn, Brideof Christ says:

    I read these comments about the Book of Job with great interest. I had never liked reading from the book of job until I experienced an intense depression brought on by the sudden job losses of both my husband and myself during the Great Recession with losses of our health insurance and our house. In addition, I was experiencing both Empty Nest Syndrome, menopause, and marital breakdown at very same time. I was on antidepressants suddenly, ( a first for me) Andi suddenly I couldn’t get enough of reading Job. At that time the book was a lifeline for me. Job expressed exactly what I was feeling, and amazingly, Job even described to a T the reaction to our circumstances of even our closest Christian friends! “You MUST have done something wrong if God has abandoned you to this degree!” Christians actually said that to me. The Book of Job gave me such comfort, because God loved Job through all of his terrible circumstance, even if Job didn’t FEEL loved as he experienced the agony of it all . As far as the wager with Satan, I’ve never taken that part literally. I always felt that Satan was saying to God, “Your people only follow you because you bless them personally. My power for evil us more powerful than your blessings, and I will ultimately control mankind because of my destructive power. ( This was before Jesus and I think Satan really believed back then that he would control all of mankind ultimately.) As Jean said, God knew Job would remain faithful. Perhaps Job’s ordeal was necessary to show Satan and other fallen angels, how wrong Satan was about humankind! I’m watching ”The Chosen’ right now on Netflix. The apostles’ lives weren’t easy, either. As Christians we may be called on ultimately to share in the sufferings of Christ. It’s the ‘Health, Wealth, and Prosperity’ doctrine that has it all wrong in my opinion. Job is the balance to that errant theology.

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