Job 1:1,6-12 NIV
 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.  One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.  The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”  Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”  “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.  “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.  But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”  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.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Dear God, I don’t want to get into whether or not this is a literal story of what happened to someone or a fairytale, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is the author’s thesis for this book—if you allow bad things into our lives, we will walk away and give up on you. The idea is that we don’t get it. In the story, Satan knows that we are small minded. Even some of our national theological leaders make stupid statements about you sending punishments to entire cities with hurricanes and wildfires because they are in sin. Now, they might be able to convince me that some of these areas might have lost a hedge of protection from you with their disobedience, but I also know that there were plenty of faithful people in those situations who suffered. We can be so myopic!
This Sunday, I’m going to be talking about the faith that grows beyond this carrot and stick view of you. We are not donkeys. We are sheep. Our lives are not our own any more than a lamb’s is. We are here for your worship and to be your tangible source of love on earth.
Father, help me to articulate all of the thoughts that you are putting on my heart this week. Help me to have just the right message for this weekend. In an election season, help me to also speak your peace to this group. Help us to all do away with fear and embrace you and your individual call on our lives.
In Jesus’ name I pray,