I found this in my files last week; I had started writing it a while back, but hadn’t finished. The content was incredibly timely for me, and I pray it will be useful to you:
[God] has stripped from me my glory and taken the crown from my head. He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, and my hope has he pulled up like a tree. (Job 19:10-11)
Stripped, broken, uprooted. These are difficult words to read, though they’re a strange comfort to those enduring such pains. Job’s confession resonated with me, as he put into words what I failed to speak, not by choice, but because I simply did not know how.
In the darkness of suffering, which looks different for everyone, we are faced with the uneasy, painful reality of having to die to ourselves. My confession: I still don’t fully understand what that means. Yet, day by day, God is teaching me.
Most recently, this dying-to-self has come from feeling that God is far away when I need him most, and that there is nothing I can do but keep believing that he will help me trust him.
We lean on earthly glories, and we boast in our crowns—until they are stripped from us. We then realize that they were crummy gods, unable to give us life, meaning, or joy. They couldn’t bear the weight of our soul’s greatest need, which is to be satisfied in Jesus alone, forever. They couldn’t provide what we were searching for—and it is good when they are “gone.”
God strips earthly glories from us so we will learn to treasure him.
Yet, to be broken down on every side is painful. In my pride, I thought that physical pain might be enough to teach me how to die to myself; but God is not finished yet, nor will he be until he takes me home. There is more dying to be had, more of Jesus to know, until I see him face to face.
Stripped and broken is the place where God builds us up again, for his glory, giving the crown of life to all who look to Jesus for salvation. “Taken from” and dashed of hope is when he actually gives us more than we deserve and what we truly need. To be “gone”—to lose our will, our desires, our plans, our understanding—is to live because then Christ’s life upholds us, and we treasure him more sweetly.
We cannot live for Christ if we are too busy living for ourselves and asking him to serve our desires. We cannot fully hope in him if our hopes are rooted in this world.
God takes away our crowns of control, so we will learn to trust him. He breaks us down, so we will learn to depend on him. He uproots our earthly hopes, so we will learn to hope in Christ. And that Hope will never disappoint.
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! (19:25-27)