The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

Looking Behind the Curtain of Reality

Posted on: November 14, 2017

HOW TO KEEP A SPIRITUAL FOCUS IN A PHYSICAL WORLD

The Book of Job pulls the curtain of reality back and allows us to get a remarkable glimpse of both the physical and the spiritual world at the same time.

We see the physical world of a wealthy and righteous man blessed with many of the fine things of life who had those fine things stripped from him like a sudden and raging fire stripping a forest of life.

And, as far as Job knew, it was because of a remarkable convergence of bad luck involving freak weather phenomena and marauding bands of terrorists.

Yet the Scriptures pull back the curtain of reality to reveal a brutal spiritual assault orchestrated by the forces of hell against Job’s interests. Yes, the instruments were freak weather phenomena and marauding terrorists, but the mastermind behind it all was the great enemy of our souls.

This is something God allowed for the purpose of revealing His glory and for His sufficient grace to be revealed in Job’s ultimate response. In the end, Job’s integrity was magnificently vindicated and lavishly rewarded.

Job’s experience is a spiritual lesson to us all that we must learn to trust God’s benevolent intentions toward us. There are things we don’t know and understand about God’s will. We don’t understand why we don’t get the things we pray for that seem to be good things. We don’t understand why we get some good things we didn’t even pray for. We don’t know why we get some bad things we prayed not to get.

Our walk with God can be frustrating and defeating unless we learn to trust in His benevolent intentions toward us—believing that He is good, that He knows best and that He will act for our highest interest at all times, in spite of what feels like evidence to the contrary.

When we trust God’s benevolent intentions toward us, we can then abandon ourselves to His will rather than fearing or resenting His will.

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger broke up seventy-three seconds after launch, killing all on board. National attention on this flight was especially high because Christa McAuliffe was on board.

She had won a national “Teacher in Space” contest in which educators from all over the U.S. applied to be the first teacher in space. A friend of ours had submitted the lengthy and complex application for her husband who was a skilled and popular high school teacher and whom she felt would surely win.

Yet, due to a delay that was beyond her control, the application arrived at NASA one day late, and was therefore disqualified. Her husband would not be on the Challenger. She was angry and bitter with God for allowing that to happen.

On that fateful, bright and beautiful January morning, her husband was at work and the kids were at school. Our friend was watching the launch on the television in her master bedroom. As the shuttle ignited and started rising majestically into the brilliant blue sky, she said out loud, “My husband should have been on that flight. God, how dare You!”

Scarcely had the words passed her lips when the Challenger exploded and separated into that unforgettable smoke wishbone. The strength was instantly and completely sapped from her body as she collapsed backward on the bed in horror—horror at what had happened to the astronauts, horror that her husband might have been on the flight, and horror that she had so brazenly challenged God.

Admittedly, this is a dramatic example, but it illustrates the fact that we humans are never in a position to challenge God. As in the book of Job, there are things going on behind the scenes that we know nothing about. We must trust that there is always a higher good behind why God does not grant all our requests.

Instead of eyeing God suspiciously, like a vending machine with a track record of not working consistently, we must view Him as a loving parent who knows what is best for us and will act for our highest good even though we may not understand it.

I have a prayer that I recite daily to help keep my life balanced and focused. One part of that prayer says:

I accept Your benevolent intentions toward me, even during times of great trial (Deuteronomy 8:16). Because You hung the stars in space (Isaiah 40:26), You do not lack the power to grant my requests (Job 42:2), and because You hung on the cross for my sin, You do not lack the love to grant my requests (Romans 5:8). Therefore, when my requests are not granted, I accept that a higher good is being served (Isaiah 55:9), and that my faith will be eternally rewarded (2 Corinthians 4:17).

This prayer helps keep me in touch with spiritual reality as I live in this physical world.

If you add it to your daily routine, over time its truth will wear a four-lane highway in your brain, helping you remain divinely focused and balanced when life doesn’t go your way.


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