"The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Job 1:12
A week and a half ago I very suddenly came down with a migraine. Oh, it was a bad one, I had to call Andy home early that day to make dinner, because standing up and doing anything just wasn't going to happen. I pretty much spent two days lying on the couch watching TV, waiting for this stabbing headache to go away. At one point I sought out advice on how to best weather the migraine- I was looking for something homeopathic that could at least minimize my symptoms. I was surprised when a few of the bits of advice included thoughts like "I think God gives me migraines so that I slow down". God gives migraines? God gives me this horrible stabbing pain inside my head? I had to think about that one for awhile, because I know I've heard many times before how people say God gives them problems to correct bad behavior or such. But I didn't know that I had actually seen scripture to the contrary.
And then I read the book of Job. If there was anyone who suffered, it was Job. I read the dialogue between God and Satan, and saw such fatherly love from God towards Job. And yet, Satan comes along and asks to mess him up a little, and God told him to go ahead, confident in Job's heart and love for Him. When the first calamities befall Job, he says something that I thought was always spoken by someone a little more important. it's an often quoted scripture, except it's not entirely accurate.
"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;" Job 1:21
This verse is quotes a lot, and in different ways. A popular worship song even has these words in it. Except it's actually a false statement. Because just a few verses earlier, we saw that God gave Satan permission to wreak havoc on Job. It may be mincing words here, but I do think it's important to note that while God allowed disaster to strike, God did not cause the disaster. Satan did. In Job's case, when he said the Lord has taken away, he actually wasn't correct. If he'd said something like "God allowed everything to be taken" that would be correct. But he didn't.
Which brings me back to my migraine, which God most definitely did not give me. And yet... I learned something during those two days. I had been spending a lot of time contemplating a fast, and trying to decide what I was going to fast for the new year- leaning towards food of some kind or in some way. One of the many things I know about migraines is that they can often be triggered by food- or lack thereof. It was clearly obvious that I should not do a food fast of any kind at this time. After a migraine attack, I am susceptible for weeks to a second round- I needed to be conscious of what I was eating, and eat regularly. A fast was not an option.
It was that second day of the migraine when my computer crashed. I was feeling a bit better as the day went on, and thought that I could sit down for just a minute and do a few things, when my computer went down. I knew what was wrong with it, and knew someone who could fix it, but just the same, I knew I would be without for a few days, and I just knew that God was showing me what He wanted me to fast. Which brings me back to that silly migraine again- that God did not cause. But maybe, just maybe, the devil had a little chat with God and told God that he wanted to wreck our happy home with a migraine, and God told him to go ahead- because God knew that He could use that migraine to show me a few things.
Here I am ten days later, and God is still showing me truths about that migraine, among many other things. God did not take away my computer in an effort to punish me for spending too much time there. God allowed my computer to have a problem to point out to me that I really should think about where I spend my time. It's nothing for me to sit down to just check one thing, and then hours later I'm still there- caught up in this, that, or the other thing. Now, while my computer is still not here, I am using other computers in the home, and severely limiting my time, because they are not my computer, and it's just not the same. And while I've been spending less time at the computer, that's meant more time for my thoughts to dwell on Him. It's meant more time to work on other things around the house- often time things that lead me to more thoughts on Him. All-around, basically pointing out to me that He wants some of my time in my days. Little bits here and there aren't cutting it, and He wants more.
God gives, and sometimes He allows things to be taken away in an effort to draw us closer to Him. The question is, when those times come, will we follow the example of Job and still worship Him in everything?