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.
- Job 1:8-12
“God is pleased continually to vary His modes of dealing with us, in order that we may not be tempted to trust in donors, or in circumstances, but in Him alone, and to keep our eye fixed on Him. This, by His grace, we are able to do, and our hearts are kept in peace.”
- George Müller, Answers to Prayer
I have read many mystery novels in my lifetime; counting individual short stories or novellas, the number of mysteries must be in the thousands. I still enjoy an occasional mystery television show, but that form of entertainment is wearing thin. I do not trust Hollywood. Even with novels, if an author disappoints, I will give them one more chance, before never getting one of their books again.
I mentioned my love of mysteries to explain the title of the post. An M.O. is one’s modus operandi, the way that, in the case of the mystery, the criminal carries out the crime, his or her method of operation. Most mystery writers are true to a rule that criminals do not change their methods, at least not often. Someone who illegally enters houses through an upstairs window might never crash through the back door to illegally enter. A murderer who strangles his victims is rarely going to shoot a pistol to kill someone.
Yet, God changes the method of His operation (M.O.). In this passage above about Job, God went from protecting Job, his family, and his possessions to just protecting Job himself. This tested Job’s faith. Job complained; Job cried out, but Job did not curse God or stray from his faith in God.
Consider Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph is the first born of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. He was doted upon. Joseph was special, and given special gifts like the multi-colored coat, and given special tasks to perform like doing the accounting for his father. I cannot resist this ‘joke’, but it is not that much of a stretch to think of Joseph as a great dreamer, since his job was to count sheep.
Now that that is out of my system, Joseph was then thrown into a well by his brothers with the thought of killing him, then sold as a slave, then trusted with Potiphar’s household, then thrown in prison, then forgotten until Pharaoh needed a dream interpreted, then made second in command in all of Egypt. If Joseph was not in the moment, focusing on what was needed right now, looking at his career moves would have made his head swim, but God changed his mode of dealing with Joseph in order to carry out God’s great purpose. If Joseph had not gotten to the position he was in, the Israelites would have never been in Egypt, and the Passover would have never been necessary, and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross on the Passover would lose its meaning. Imagine, if Joseph had entered Pharaoh’s presence as a traveling salesman, he would have been laughed at and thrown out, if he ever got an audience with Pharaoh in the first place. Joseph went through a series of trials of faith in order to be in the right place at the right time with the right skills and experience.
But does not God deal with all of us in a variety of ways? God may seem to be a one-trick pony at times, but that is probably due to us not learning a specific life lesson. What did Rev. Müller say regarding the reason for this variety in dealing with us? So that we might learn to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord. And what is our reward? Peace.
So, if God’s M.O. seems to be in a rut for your life, maybe it’s not God’s problem. It may be that we need to learn how to trust God a little more. It may be that we need to spend more time in prayer. It may be that we need to learn more about God so that we can learn what God has in store for us. As we grow in faith and align our will with God’s will, we will again see a shift in God’s M.O. And we will have peace.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.