"My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly.....After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before."
There are weeks that nothing seems to click. An appliance dies in the house and you reach into your savings thanking the good Lord that there is enough there to purchase a new one. Then the plumbing leaks in the bathroom and you pull out that last credit card that has a bit of an opening for cash and thank the Lord again that you have this money available to fix the latest emergency.
Then the school calls requiring an emergency meeting for your child who is failing in several subject areas. After the conference you drive home feeling renewed that there are new plans in place and resort to a prayerful thanksgiving. That evening your spouse tells you that his facility downsizing and he will be out of work next month. At this very moment those prayers of thanksgiving go null. How much more, Lord, you ask, can the weight of this cross bear before it crushes me?
Many biblical characters also prayed for God's mercy and grace. Job was God's proving ground with Satan. God allowed Satan to test Job's faithfulness by sending him a horrible disaster. Within minutes Job lost ten children, devastation of all his herds, death of his servants, and painful sores all over is body. But throughout all this Job did not turn away from God. He complained and questioned him wondering why such a dutiful servant of the Lord could be treated so harshly. Finally God spoke to Job:
Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?
Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! (Job 38;2,4-5)
Job was looking for grace and mercy. Lucinda McDowell's book Amazed by Grace, explains "grace is God's giving us what we don't deserve; mercy is God's not giving us what we do deserve." But, the above verse gives us a bit of understanding of what it may take to move God toward mercy. Job was correct in assuming he didn't deserve such a fate; after all he was a righteous man. But his questioning God was not appropriate. In doing so he offended God. We never find out if Job learned that his losses were part of a heavenly power struggle- one that sets us free from Satan's grasp. God's words imparted to Job that he did not need to know all the whys of why he was suffering. He finally told God, "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted... Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.... My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you." (42:2,3,5)
Sometimes I feel as though I am riding on the wings of God's grace and on the down days his mercy. His grace keeps me going all day filling the demands of a busy life and family. And on those days I lash out in confusion or overwhelming frustration, I need God's mercy so that I can make amends and move on the next day. Oh, how we do need both when those weeks of suffering just don't make sense.
I am blessed by your mercy and grace.
At times I do not understand why I am
suffering so. May my love for you not
question my well-being and instead in
your hands I commend my soul.