Skip to main content

Glorious Loneliness!

I have been looking for a good book on Job. I remember asking a very active Facebook group of Christians, "Can someone please recommend a good book to read on the book of Job?". No one responded, except one chap who simply answered "the book of Job". A clever or silly response depending on your vantage point. But ultimately unhelpful.

Thankfully, I bumped into a wonderful pastor whose preaching during my lunch tme at work has been life changing. He had been preaching on Ecclessiates, so I asked him for tips on Ecclessiates and Job. Well, one of the books he recommended is the short book (115 pages) Out of the Storm : Grappling with God in the Book of Job by Christopher Ash.  

The best compliment I can give this short book is that it has made me want to read more and study Job. The book has so many excellents points and will post a few quotes from it going forward. But here is one of the excellents observations he makes : 
Even a non-serious illness cuts us off from others; we have to miss out on a family outing, a party or a gathering. There is (in the title of an old play) ‘Laughter in the room next door’. And if even light suffering begins to isolate the sufferer, heavy suffering isolates acutely. Even a shared loss is experienced uniquely by a bereft person. When a child dies, the father alone knows what it is to be the father of this dead child; only the mother enters the unique depths of loss as the mother of this son or daughter. However much they share, at the deepest level they suffer alone.
Indeed there's nothing more lonely than suffering. But perhaps there's a hopeful side to this loneliness. As I thought about it, it occured to me that perhaps that loneliness is a door way to something else. Could it be God allows suffering to isolate us for himself? Suffering acts to isolate us so that can focus solely on him - as we realise that everything we cling to in this very moment cannot help us. Job certainly knew that only God could do it! 

Shelly Hundley makes that very point in her book A Cry for Justice: Overcome anger, reject bitterness, and trust in Jesus who will fight for you [wonderful title!]. She says  "rather than disqualifying us from intimacy with God, pain escorts us into it". It is a remarkable picture of pain - an "escort" into God's quiet and sovereign presence. Now isolation becomes solitude! It becomes that phase in our life when we are being comforted by God himself.

And this is surely no idle speculation because Apostle Peter reminds us with that excellent statement, "So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you" [1 Peter 4:14]. The context is suffering for being a Christian. But it is true surely of any suffering that is beyond our control and not a result of wilfull disobedience (and even then if we respent, God's spirit rests doubly on us).  It is in that moment of pain and suffering that God gives us a double portion of himself. He rests upon us! Yes, the suffering cuts us off and makes us lonely, but oh what glorious loneliness it is then! For in that moment God is surely present! 

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I am what I am by Gloria Gaynor

Beverly Knight closed the opening ceremony of the Paralympics with what has been dubbed the signature tune of the Paralympics. I had no idea Ms Knight is still in the singing business. And clearly going by the raving reviews she will continue to be around. One media source says her performance was so electric that "there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen as she sang the lyrics to the song and people even watching at home felt the passion in her words" . The song was Gloria Gaynor's I am what I am . Clearly not written by Gloria Gaynor but certainly musically owned and popularized by her. It opens triumphantly: I am what I am / I am my own special creation / So come take a look / Give me the hook or the ovation / It's my world that I want to have a little pride in / My world and it's not a place I have to hide in / Life's not worth a damn till you can say I am what I am The words “I am what I am” echo over ten times in the song. A bold declaration that she

Why has God ordained prayer?

One of the most important truths we need to grasp in our life with Christ is that God ordains both the end and means of achieving that end. He determines the outcomes and how those outcomes are brought about. Unless we understand this truth we are likely to be unfruitful in our lives. For example, we are likely to fall into a sin of prayerlessness. Many of us do not take prayer seriously because deep down we do not realise that unless we pray, we won’t have that which we desire God to for us. We often do not have things, because we do not ask for them( James 4:2). God can give us things but not without prayer. He has promised us to call on him and He will answer us (Jeremiah 33:3; Psalm 91:15).  Now,  in order for us to really believe this truth that God will not give us what we desire without prayer, we need to be convinced on why God has ordained prayer as a means of delivering outcomes. I think once we understand that it will help to take prayer seriously. I found this explanation g

What is the best preparation for preaching?

The best preparation is not to be too anxious about it. Anxious care hinders liveliness and efficacy. It leads to too little dependence on the Spirit. Be not didactic. Aim at the conscience as soldiers aim at the faces. Consider I may be preaching my last sermon. This leads to setting forth Christ as The Way, the Truth and the Life . .. Make Christ the prominent figure…Pay less attention to dear self. JOHN NEWTON