El Shaddai

((from Courtney))

El Shaddai.

The Almighty.

Forty-eight times in the Old Testament this Hebrew word appears. Forty-eight times we are reminded that our God is all mighty. There is nothing outside of His grasp. There is nothing that stretches His muscles. There is nothing that taxes His brain, and there is nothing that will fatigue Him. Our God never strains. He never stretches. He never has to work up to something, or build up His strength, or tackle it from a different angle. He is all mighty.

Thirty-one of its forty-eight times, this word is used in the book of Job.

 Stop and digest that.

In the great suffering book of the Bible, in the book where we are face-to-face with God’s power, His sovereignty, and with the fact that he is able to dictate all parameters of our life; in that book we are reminded thirty-one times that He is all mighty. The Almighty.

“Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.”  Job 34:12

As I was emerging from three months of bedridden sickness earlier this year, I started to notice that my heart was hard, cold, and even encased in a shell as though to protect itself. Terror at this development gripped me for two separate reasons.

First, I had battled bitterness before. Approximately seven years ago multiple aspects of my life crumbled, and I was left with nothing but pieces of my future dreams. In that season, I allowed myself to believe that God was not good. I battled panic attacks, depression, and complete apathy towards any aspect of my faith. One day, at lunch with my mom, she asked, “Courtney, do you think that you are bitter?” I would love to say that I heeded such an question with tears and tenderness, but bitterness has a way of hardening and instead I lashed out in anger. But God is good. He did not treat me as my sins deserved. And over the next 12 months, He slowly worked on my heart to soften me, bringing me back to Himself. The terrifying thing was the tenacity of bitterness. I confessed my sin to God shortly after lunch with my mother, but the fruit clung to me. It was one of the hardest spiritual battles of my life. And not one that I wanted to repeat.

Second, I knew that there was something deeply wrong with my view of God. Any negative emotional response (a.k.a. sin) that I was having after my trial was the result of something faulty in my knowledge of my God. There was something in my belief system that was not holding up.

So I begin to walk into every Bible time, every prayer time, every study session with the prayer, “God show me yourself. God I need to know you. I need to see you. Who you are needs to be more important to me than my circumstances.

And He answered. Because He is all mighty. He is the Almighty.

Job is never told why God drastically altered his life. Job is never informed as to why he suffered such trials. Job is never told the massive spiritual battle that was raging. You and I know, but there’s no indication that Job ever knew. Job was just told that God is the Almighty. And that was enough. He repented and he worshipped.

“Then Job replied to the Lord: ‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you,  and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself  and repent in dust and ashes.'” Job 42:1-6

When suffering, I do not need to know why, I must just remember WHO is holding me and my world; holding me without strain, struggle, or panic. He who is ordering every molecule without fatigue.

El Shaddai.
The Almighty.


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