Monday, April 20, 2009

Rediscovering Job 7 Years Later

Yeah! So this is pretty tight! In our D-Team women's Bible study, we are breezing through the Old Testament. Last week's lesson allowed me to skim through Job. With an amazing realization, I remembered that it was about this time seven years ago in my AP Lit class that I had read Job. However, I was not Chrisitian... actually... from about April 2002 to September 2002 is 5 months, and I became Christian late September. So... God was getting a hold of my heart in this way.

7 Years Ago our instructor announced that we would study Job because it was a rather poetic piece of the Old Testament. I think he chose the Old Testament because he was Jewish. Anyway, he handed out these hardcover Bibles. I forgot which translation they were. They may have been either New International Version or New King James. Some students chuckled & scoffed at reading the Bible, but I was excited. See, 9/11 had occurred 8 months earlier, and I was still having secondary PTSD ( which wouldn't be diagnosed until my Sophomore year of High school.) The short story of why I had secondary PTSD was that Mom was shaken up and angry about it, and did not have the emotional capacity to help me process my own reactions of fear, sadness, anger over it. My grandparents had been in New York during that time, and I was worried that they were in downtown at that point. Also, Mom needed someone to watch the news with her during the first few weeks after the event, so I watched, but I was left on my own to process things. Therefore, I turned to God.

Getting back to Job, I wanted to read the story. The instructor told us that Job was about suffering and God. I had a lot of suffering in my past and during the last 8 months, so I wanted to hear. I only had every other Sunday going to church and listening to the Word there when I would go to mass with my grandparents. You could say I was like David - a deer panting for streams of living water. When I got my somewhat tattered copy of the Bible, I opened it and was really glad the print was a decent size. My fear was that I would have to struggle through tiny 'Bible size' print - one reason I had shyed away from reading the Bible previously. I hadn't realized there were large print versions available.

I flipped to Psalm 23. We sang "Shepherd me O God" and it was my favorite psalm at that time. I also tried to find the Lord's Prayer before we started. We were to outline the book of Job by Job's speaking parts and his friends' parts and grab themes out of them. Much of it was confusing because I didn't understand that his friends were not speaking truths about God. Therefore, I was getting somewhat of an inaccurate view of God. That was, until I got to the end. I, like Job, realized God was sovereign over all things. I also learned from Job's example that it was ok to wonder why suffering happened, but clinging to God was the best thing to do.

I remember getting to class early and getting a Bible and finding Job but flipping around to look in other places. I was trying to find passages that would comfort me during the day. I did do this somewhat surreptitiously so I didn't appear 'super-religious' as some of my friends and Mom classified evangelical Christians.

Present Time I realize all this was my seeking after God. I had the Word, and I believe God really opened my heart to Himself and made me more apt to seek Him by exposing me to Job. However, I could never dream that five months from that time, I would pray to God to receive His Son Jesus as my savior. Of course, from September 2002, until now, I have endured a lot more suffering than just secondary PTSD from 9/11, but now I have God and I understand His word now since I have the Spirit of Truth to help me discern it. Like Job, the more I understand God, the more my suffering is more bearable, and the more I can still praise God through it.

I am thankful for Job. I am actually reading it and yes, outling it. This time with the knowledge of the Truth of who God is to guide me. I pray I learn much more about God through this, and I do praise Him for that day when He placed a tattered Bible on my desk in AP Lit. He was drawing me close to Himself.

"But their minds were made dull, for to this day, the same veil remains when the old covanent is read. It has not been removed because only in Christ is it taken away. ... But whenever anyone turnes to the Lord, the veil is taken away... And we , who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, we are being transformed into His likenness with ever increasing glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:14, 16, 18

Monday, April 06, 2009

Whether in the Burbs or in the Hood, Problems Arise

For a lot of risk and resilience literature, researchers have focused on poor families because they have less resources to deal with life. However, researchers are also focusing on middle and upper-middle class children because they are discovering that these children have unique challenges. These challenges often include over-scheduling, being pushed to over-achieve, and being unsupervised because the parents are too busy to attend to them.

I was listening to Leeland's song Tears of the Saints. That made me cry because I realized that truly no one is immune from the effects of the world. People in a lower socioeconomic group may have stronger family bonds because they need to rely on each other more, but they are told by the society that they are lesser. People in upper class have to maintain their status and that becomes a relentless god they serve. Yet in both - acquiring or keeping resources - if that is the the sole purpose in life will leave all empty, all depressed, discontent, leading to less emotion to give to children and the family, which may lead to children having less of a future.

What's the solution? I would sound trite by saying it is Christ, but in a way, I do not. Hoping in a sovereign God will allow for less stress for a family making ends meet, for they know that somehow, God will come through to pay that unexpected bill. Trusting in the hope laid up in heaven makes the momentary troubles more bearable, and they know it is to tese their faith to prove it genuine. Hope in Christ for people in the 'burbs allows for less stress when the stock-market plummets. They also know their resources are not for themselves, bot to give to to others. Hope in Christ for all families allows the love He has to flow from them into their children, so the children can know Him and have a future set on His truth in this life, and everlasting joy in the next. So, yes. Truly, Christ is the solution - He is the I AM for all generations, classes, and the everlasting resilience factor.