I went home, paced the floor and yelled at the air. I was furious. I had been with a friend at a cafe. We didn’t live close and as a result didn’t meet often. This catchup was not what I expected. She looked burdened. I listened to her tell a story of a marriage falling apart. My rage wasn’t at the couple, rather it was with their Christian friends. Instead of rallying around with support and prayer, they gossiped lies and judged. I knew my emotions were raw and out of perspective. I needed a way of calming myself down before I picked up the children from school. Rather then staying at home and stewing, I decided to walk on the beach and talk it out with God.
There is something soothing about the beach. The roar of the waves overwhelmed my words and swiftness of the wind carried them away. With each word released to God, I felt my anger reduce. I knew God was patiently listening. Often judgment has an element of truth to it. The situation with the broken marriage wasn’t right, I knew this. I also knew that the response of those Christian friends wasn’t God’s heart. I have seen, through God-revelation, my own judgmental behaviour and the harm it did. I questioned God, how can I be different? My hearts desire was to become a person who allowed God to be the just judge. I wanted to be a person capable of resting in God’s abilities. However, I didn’t want to be passive or permissive, but a person overflowing with God’s grace and vision.
In the silence, He answered, “Job”. Not quite the answer I was expecting. Job was a man who was righteous in God’s eyes, but suffered enormous loss and pain at the affliction of the enemy. What exactly was He saying to me?
He then asked me a series of questions. His first question was, “What did Job’s wife see?”
He continued with His questions, “What did Job’s friends see?”
I then had a picture of Job seated with his friends. Job was clothed in sackcloth and his body was covered in ash and terrible sores. I responded, “They saw Job’s suffering. They didn’t see the enemy or Your love for Job. They judged Job according to what they saw with their own eyes”.
God’s next question was about Job himself, “What did Job see?”
In that moment I had flashes of every affliction and unjust word inflicted upon Job. I replied, “He saw his loss and suffering; his wife’s broken anger; he heard his friends judgment and he felt the injustice of his situation”.
His final question directed me to a perspective I had not considered, “What does the reader of the book see?”
I stopped in my tracks, the question penetrated deep into my heart. I finally understood what God was saying. I replied, “Everything. The reader sees everything. They see Job a blameless and God-fearing man. They see the enemies conversations with you in heaven and watch the enemy wrongfully afflict Job and his family. They see Job’s brokenness; his hurting, angry wife; his judgmental friends; and his mistake. Finally at the end of the book they see your hand of love outpouring forgiveness and two-fold restoration.
His final words to me that day were, “Cheryl become the reader of the book. The book of Job is written from my perspective. I see everything. See the world through my eyes”.
That day was over 3 years ago now. Since then trying to see through God’s eyes has become my daily goal. This desire has led me on a journey with many twists and turns. I have seen some amazing and not so amazing things in God. It has been a time of tremendous growth in prayer, faith, rest, grace, love, mercy, humility, forgiveness, dependence on God and much more. Today as I write and reflect on that day and the journey since, I realise that this goal will probably remain my daily goal for the rest of my life. I have so much more to learn.