Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Going Through Spiritual Chemotherapy

Suggested Reading: Job 1-2, 8-9

Over the last few years, a number of people in my life have had to go through chemotherapy. Chemo is a nasty process; it is brutal and painful and, at times, humiliating. Chemo makes you horribly sick. It can cause you to shed your hair and lose weight. For a time, chemo can seem unbearable and make you wonder if the pain is worth it. Chemo is not something anybody ever wants to go through, but people endure it because there is no other way, at present, to get rid of some cancers.

In the book of Job, God brings Job to Satan's attention because Job is a good and righteous person. Satan gets permission to test Job by making him suffer. Job loses his children, his wealth, his health, and even the support of his wife. Job's friends come to comfort him, but quickly begin telling him good sounding lies to try to explain Job's situation, telling Job how to fix his life and make God bless him again. Bildad tells Job, "If you are pure and upright, then [God] will move even now on your behalf and restore the home where your righteousness dwells" (Job 8:6, NLT). Bildad was telling Job that if he would just start being righteous, his suffering would end. Bildad tells Job, "Look, God does not reject a person of integrity and he will not support evildoers" (Job 8:20), which was true, except that they thought enduring loss and tragedy was a sign of God's rejection. Job and Bildad didn't know that Job was suffering, not because he was a sinner, but because he was righteous. Bildad was sharing truths with cancer cells in them, he was telling Job lies that were almost true. But the real problem was that Job believed these lies! Job responded to Bildad, "Yes, I know what you've said is true, but how can a person be justified before God?" (Job 9:1, NLT). Sometimes, we can get so caught up in answering Job's question, that we miss the fact that Job believed the cancerous truths; Job believed the lies, and Job spent much of the next 30 chapters wanting to make his case to God that he really is righteous, so that his suffering will end.

At least part of the reason that God allowed Job to endure all of this loss and tragedy was that God needed to kill those cancerous lies. God needed to expose the lies that had wormed their way into the truths Job believed - both for Job and for us. So, God brought Job face to face with, both, his own suffering and his own righteousness, until the lie was finally exposed as a lie. It was painful. It was agonizing. And, in the end, God did move on Jobs behalf to restore his home, but Job had learned the truth that a person's righteousness doesn't mean God is going to restore things right now. Too many people believe the lie that, if you are a righteous person, God will restore things right now, that if you live like you are supposed to and have the faith you should have, God will bless every area of your life right now. Too many of us, like Job, believe these cancerous truths, these small lies within a larger truth that require God's own version of chemotherapy to kill.

What cancerous lies have you allowed yourself to believe, lies that are mostly true but with just a lethal bit of falsehood added in? If you want to avoid going through spiritual chemotherapy, study God's Word diligently so that the lies come to light on their own. Maybe you can catch the lies early, before they have a chance to spread.

Getting Lost in Discussion

Suggested Reading: Acts 8:26-40 I have this really bad habit of discovering online discussion boards and then getting lost in the discus...