I’ve discovered the secret to true joy. God is not predictable.
That may not be the answer you were hoping to hear. I’m sure we’d rather have something like, God will answer your every prayer or God meets all your needs. Though there is truth in those statements, they are still dependent upon ‘you’. You have to pray. You have to know the needs you want fulfilled in order to experience the joy of receiving.
True joy is absent of you. True joy is only found in the Lord. True joy is possible in the best of times and in the worst of times. Solomon and Job depict both extremes and they came to the same conclusion.
Solomon had all the wealth and pleasures this world could offer. They were a gift from the Lord. His life journey is summarized in Ecclesiastes. When you get past all the meaningless ‘life is meaningless’ phrases, you find a deeper secret. It is possible to enjoy this life of confusion, disillusionment, injustice, and despair.
Job is a perfect example. He above all others in his time loved and served the Lord. Yet for no apparent reason to him, everything was violently stripped away. He is in agony of soul and body. The opposite extreme of Solomon for Job lost his beloved children and all he owned including his health.
He argues with his friends on the injustices of this world. His friends try in vain to make God predictable. They want to prove, ‘if a then b’. If we pray enough, love enough, give enough, obey enough, then God has to respond appropriately to us.
Here’s where we get into trouble. We lose our joy when God doesn’t respond to our asking and pleading, when God doesn’t act like the god of our image.
Job felt like he was completely in the dark, so dark that he couldn’t see his hand in front of his face. Yet he knew what his friends didn’t know. God does what He wants, when He wants. That truth terrified him. Can you imagine meeting such a God? Job dreaded the thought of it. He lived in holy fear.
Live in holy fear. That’s the same conclusion to life Solomon discovered.
I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear. Whatever was, is. Whatever will be, is. That’s how it always is with God. Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 The Message
Notice the line I highlighted. Stop asking questions and simply worship in holy fear. Is it really that simple? Only when we take ourselves out of the equation, only when we are focused on God and God alone, can we know the joy of real worship.
If He slay me, so be it. If He bless me, so be it. He is God.
This makes me ponder:
Would the religious leaders of His day have accepted Jesus if they had stopped asking questions and simply believed God could come as a baby and die on a cross just because He is God?