God needs to take us to a place where we despair of life.
Something terrible happened to Mr. Job. Something happened that made him despair of life. Most people celebrate their birthday, but Job cursed the day of his birth. He wished he had never been born. Job longed for the peace of death.
How did he come to this predicament?
Life happened to Job. The life Jesus came to deliver us from happened to him. The life many cling to so tenaciously happened to him. Imagine you are suffering from a terrible sickness and when you consult a doctor he tells you: “You are suffering from life.”
How can one be cured from life? Jesus is in that business. He is in the business of delivering men from counterfeit life.
Life became deadly to Job. Life became sickness to him. Therefore, he hated life. At that stage, Job became a prime candidate for resurrection to newness of life.
Job is everyman and he is every believer. Many Christians refuse to identify with Job for fear his adversity might rub off on us. But God needs to take us to a place where we despair of life and are convinced it is better to die than to live. Only then are we likely to relinquish counterfeit life.
Jesus says: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:24-25).
Have you ever reached a point where you despaired of life? That is what life does. Life suddenly comes up with a problem for which we have absolutely no solution. Everything was smooth-sailing and we were
blessing God and giving him thanks and then, “straightaway,” a major crisis of insoluble complexities shows up out of nowhere, and it completely scatters our theology.
Suddenly, someone close and dear dies. It might be a husband; it might be a wife; it might be a child; it might be a relative; or it might be a friend. Suddenly, there is a catastrophic accident, and somebody is hospitalised indefinitely. Suddenly, there is a financial disaster; or an earthquake; or an armed-robbery. Suddenly, we lose our much-vaunted high-paying job.
It has nothing to do with how righteous we are. God himself testified that Job was righteous. And yet in one day, Job lost all his children; lost all his business; lost all his wealth; and then lost his health. We are then faced with the million-dollar question: will Job lose his faith as well?
Why does this happen?
It happens because this world is satanic and deadly. It is built with knowledge from the tree of good and evil, ensuring that there is always a disaster waiting to happen.
Electricity provides light and powers all kinds of gadgets. But the same electricity can shock and kill. The airplane takes us from Cape to Cairo; but it can also fall from the sky and kill everyone in it. It is only the blessing of the Lord that enriches without adding any sorrow (Proverbs 10:22). Every day, God uses the terrible events happening all around us to ask us the same question: would we not rather be in heaven than be in this world?
Killing me softly
I woke up one morning to hear the Lord singing a Roberta Flack song to me. The song goes: “Killing me softly with his words.” “But Lord Jesus,” I protested, “why would you want to take my life? Why are you so determined to see me dead?”
You may well ask whether it was Jesus who was killing me. Would Jesus kill his beloved?
Don’t ask me: ask David. He was promised a kingdom and was anointed as king. But instead of going straight to the throne, he spent years running for his life. I know you thought he was running from Saul. But David was in no doubt it was God he was running from. He knew only God could take his life.
Therefore, David pleaded with God: “What will you gain, O Lord, from killing me? How can I praise you then to all my friends? How can my dust in the grave speak out and tell the world about your faithfulness? Hear me, Lord; oh, have pity and help me” (Psalm 30:9-10).
The Lord wants us dead. He wants us to surrender and, like Jesus, lay down our life. Then we can receive the abundant life he has in store for us. Our protestations will not change his will. If we want to live, we first have to die.
God kills before he makes alive (1 Samuel 2:6).