What was Job’s deepest wound?


If I were Job, and I lost my family, home, and animals I would not think that eventually receiving more would replace what was lost. No no child can replace a deceased child. No household pet can replace a lost pet. And–while I am not the sentimental type–there is value in the memories that places, people, and possessions can spark in our lives.

dinosaurI was pondering this when I realized I was not properly recalling the setting of Job’s story. Job seems to be as close to “cave man” as the Bible exposes. It appears he was living with dinosaurs and fire-breathing dragons (Job 40-41); and so maybe losing family members and other beloved possessions was not so uncommon. When things are common, they might still be terrible, but the expectation is different; our responses are different.

Perhaps Job’s story is not so much about the loss of irreplaceables as it is about 1) every bad thing happening at once (i.e. way more than he can handle without the Spirit), and 2) the common expectation that good things happen to godly people, and that God is working everything out for His good–specifically in bringing retribution and carrying out judgement. (Theologians call this last thing the Retribution Principle: it’s the biblical version of “karma” except that it only really works from an eternal perspective.)

It would certainly have been difficult–even beyond difficult–for Job to endure so much. But I think his deepest grief came from the failure of his expectations in God. He heard God, and dialoged with God–God is ever-present with him. Yet God delays in intervening. And God allowed it all to happen. There had been a “hedge of protection” around Job (an angelic protection? a spiritual ‘bubble’? a season of blessing?) and God took it away (Job 1:10).

Job learns to trust God and let God set the expectations for his life. He cannot hold onto both his own expectation for his life to turn around and his full dependence on God at the same time (even though he was correct in believing that God wanted to bless him and that he did not deserve his circumstances). Sometimes we have to release God to heal our circumstances by accepting them, and worshiping God anyway. I am doing this in a couple areas of my own life. My husband calls it, “realistic optimism”: accepting that if things do not change it will be okay, while continuing to have hope and flexibility in actively anticipating God’s promises coming to pass–whatever the timing, and however it looks.

And that part about Job enduring way more than he could handle? Maybe God wanted Job to recognize that alone he could not handle much, but through the Holy Spirit he could pass through it all, so that nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). He who can endure all things allows us to endure all things through Him–love is the key to this (1 Cor. 13:7: “love endures all things”). When Job is full of God’s love, he prays for his friends, and they too are redeemed. We, too, can choose to embrace God’s love in the anticipation that He knows what He is doing, and He will see us through. It is a joy through the release of our own expectations.


A Little Miracle by Prayer


I visited my endocrinologist this morning, and as much as I like, respect, and am thankful for my medical team, visiting doctors is not my favorite thing. I am a Type One Diabetic on a pump and CGM (continuous glucose monitor), so when I “get” to visit every three months everything is well documented, and I cannot hide much–whether that be my higher stress, lack of sleep, or extra snacking.

I was not looking forward to this appointment because I have been well aware that my blood glucose numbers have been higher since my summer break has merged into the busyness and holiday eating habits of autumn (including a couple birthdays). I began praying before having my blood work done last week that my A1C would be much better than it truly is, and that my other panels would continue to be normal. Then today, I was extra nervous, so I prayed (albeit selfishly) that my diabetes trainer (appointment 1), endocrinologist (appointment 2), nurse, and receptionist would be in a great mood, and feel super blessed by God today.

I have noted that the times I pray before my blood work that it is exceptionally better, and that praying before appointments also changes the atmosphere. I do this regularly, but have had some of the worst surprises on the days that I have forgotten to pray. I should not be surprised when prayer is effective. But my numbers were so great according to my blood work–when I have seen the roller-coaster of my CGM–that truly I am surprised yet again. My doctors only thoroughly examine the last couple weeks of my charted glucose in order to make tweaks in my pump’s algorithms, so they would not necessarily anticipate the full picture. But I know that while I am more normal right now, the last month or two were chaotic. It was a mini miracle that I will not overlook! I am thankful! And every bit of healing favor shows the power and love of God to usher in His fullness of heath and well-being in the right timing. I look forward to sharing the story when I am healed.


Review of Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke


Genre: Historical Fiction

Highly Recommended.

25154582Hannah Sterling never had the close relationship with her mother that she desired; but when her mother, Lieselotte, dies, Hannah begins to uncover the war secrets that divided her family and plagued her mother.

Two parallel storylines complement each other in this beautifully written work: Lieselotte’s WWII love-story, and Hannah’s journey to Berlin in the 1970s to visit the grandfather she did not know she had, and uncover her family’s identity.

The romance, history, and complex themes are accentuated by the depth of the characters and film-worthy suspense. The reality of the Shoah can be difficult to remember, yet I did not want to put this one down. Gohlke has crafted a powerful portrait of courage and forgiveness in the face of hatred and darkness.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.


Review of Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty by Angela Hunt


Genre: Biblical Fiction

Series: Dangerous Beauty (Book 2)

51ximKyn5jL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This narrative of Bathsheba’s life covers a large portion of Scripture from the moment that King David spies and acquisitions Bathsheba to the moment when Solomon is finally crowned king. It is carefully written not to contradict Scripture, while creatively adding in character and plot details to capture the larger picture of the biblical story.

Those familiar with these Scriptures will remember the prominent sins (lust, rape, murder, jealousy, pride, etc.) that may not be appropriate themes for younger readers. The opening chapters were pretty sensual compared to other fictitious Christian works (i.e. beginning with Bathsheba’s marriage to Uriah, her subsequent rape by the king, and an oddly misplaced moment of the prophet Nathan envisioning Bathsheba while being intimate with his own un-loved wife). The story is told in the first person from both Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan’s perspective in succinct alternating chapters. The author’s choice to cast Nathan as a love-struck guardian over Bathsheba felt inappropriate to me even with the human plausibility factor.

The story also lacked anticipation at times. That is, it moved slowly–not because the details were uninteresting, but because the character motivations were not always strong enough to create enough suspense to pull the story along. It is a captivating narrative because it provides an interesting take on familiar biblical characters; but if it were not for the Bible, the story would not have enough substance to move it forward.

Overall I enjoyed reading this for its intriguing perspective–not just of Bathsheba, but of David, the politics of his kingdom, and the relationships within the royal household. It motivated me to revisit the biblical stories, and (for the most part) kept my attention. But, I also think these characters and this story could be fictionalized better.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House.