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Purposeful Innocence

Click here to read Job 30 on BibleGateway.com

Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?
Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. – Job 30:25-26

downloadCynicism can be a good thing.  When a man shows up at your door, offering discount meat at half the price of the supermarket, it might do both you and your intestinal tract good to be a little suspicious.  If an athletic celebrity tells you to take a pill or two and suddenly have a six-pack, you may save a few bucks by hesitating.  And let’s not forget the occasional email from Nigerian royalty

If you’ve ever been snookered (yes, it’s a word), you know the sinking feeling in your gut (and wallet) when you find out that these promises are as real as the Easter Bunny or discount airline tickets.  If you are like most people, after you get out of the fetal position of weepage, you make a vow to yourself: Never again.  I won’t get fooled again. (YEEEAAAHHH!) <- if you don’t get that musical reference, ask your parents.)

THAT’S CON “ARTIST”

But sometimes we are so careful to avoid being scammed, that we miss the chance to be everything God has called us to be.  Job arguably did everything right; the Bible says he was a righteous man.  He even interceded for his kids with God, in case they “cursed God in their hearts.”  He sacrificed “just in case.”  But after all that, evil came. Despite all the altars he built and the animals he burned, darkness still came.

But that’s not the story of Job.  Despite doing good and getting ripped off again and again, Job still clung to God.  No matter how things were pulled away, he still continue to believe that God was good, and that he was in control.  And God rewarded his faith in the end.

PURPOSEFUL DOVES

As we experience disappointment, the harder it becomes to trust people, and often that morphs into “I can’t trust God.” Not only that, the more often we are exposed to something terrible, the easier it becomes to ignore.  The first time you saw the starving children on television, did you want to help them? The first time you saw a homeless man on the street with a cardboard sign, did you reach for your wallet? The first time you heard a missionary talk about the lost, did you feel the weight in your heart?

What about the tenth time? Or the fiftieth? What then? Did you feel the same pull? Did you give as much as you did the first time? Or did you just think “ok, I’ll get it next time”? Did you check to make sure you had enough cash for lunch after church before you gave?  Did you decide that a con man posing as a evangelist will stop you from giving to all evangelists?

This is the challenge of purposeful innocence.  To allow ourselves to be walked over in the pursuit of righteousness.  The choice we have to make is if we will still trust, if we will still be giving and generous people, despite people taking advantage of us. Can you still weep for those in trouble, even after being burned a hundred times? Can you still grieve for the poor after you find out that homeless guy is really a con artist?  Can you keep trusting God even when it seems like he lets you down over and over?  Can you still believe?

Maybe that’s what having childlike faith is all about.

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