Posted by: JennyRain | September 4, 2007

Washing Machines and God

The greatest goodness often reveals the most painful truth.

God is the ultimate layer-slayer. Not content to allow us to rest in the status quo, God tends to dig and probe at our lives until the place of greatest resistance to His Self is uncovered. He knows this place is there, He simply pricks and prods to reveal bring it to our own conscious realization.

Resounding consciousness often arrives like the spin-cycle on our washing-machine. Wrung, whipped, and wrinkled, we are taken around and around the same mountain until our eyes open to the place we have just cycled through. We feel twisted and turned, we are soaked and dizzy from spinning, yet we are cycled through once again. The warm water strips us of the comfortable dirt. But the cleansing process stings. We recognize this place because we have prayed for it. It is the place where God desires to show us a greater awakening of His goodness, but all we can feel is the pain.

Job experienced this place. He was living content in his relationship with God. His life was full of promise, of provision, of protection, and of platitudes. He had gotten religion but really had no idea of what it meant to be in an intimate love relationship with his Redeemer where God was first above things. Job had learned the rules, he practiced righteousness until it was coming out of his (and everyone else’s) ears.  

Job was drowning in the piety of shallow religious performance.

His relationship with God was based on external indicators of blessing. He had a great house, his finances were set, his occupation was profitable, he had a bunch of friends, his kids were well behaved, his health was strong, and his marriage solid. Job lacked for nothing material.

Job was starving spiritually in the midst of material abundance.

Job’s picture of God’s goodness was limited to God’s provision and God knew it. So God allowed Job to want.

First God conspired with the enemy and developed a plan that took Job’s livelihood, then Job’s kids, then Job’s friends. Job stayed true to his religion. Then God turned his wife against him, took his health, and left in place only a grave silence. A silence that was dark and deep. A silence that lasted through the night and into the days. A solitude that seemed to stretch endlessly between bitter sores and critical neighbors.

The only thing Job was given in this place was want. He wanted for health. He wanted for provision. He wanted for his family. He wanted for the life he used to have. Job wanted for all good things.

God was criticized by Job for not living up to His end of the bargain. “The formula,” said Job, “is this, I perform and you bless.” The less God blessed, the more Job reminded God of the formula. The more God required Job to want, the more Job complained, the less God gave.

Job was left in want. But through this want, Job eventually discover a desire for God Himself.

This is my struggle. Only in the spin-cycles of life am I learning to want for God’s goodness above God’s blessings. The constant wringing out of my dependence on material realities removes the impurities that attach to me, but were never meant to be woven into the original fabric of my existence. I am learning to want for God’s goodness above God’s gifts… and it is a often a hard place to remain without seeing myself speckled with the dirt that has attached itself to the fabric of my life.


All writings copyrighted by author 9.4.2007 (c)

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