Consider My Servant, Job.
Have you ever been in a place where you have questioned God? I know have. It's hard sometimes to buy into the Evangelical rhetoric that accompanies such thoughts. Maybe you have heard some of these. "Just give it to God", "Cast your cares", "God is strengthening your faith"... and so on. In the midst of intense trials though, these sayings, even though well-intentioned fall flat on our ears and hearts. Why? Well for me, because in the moment, they don't feel tangible. Is it true that our faith needs to be strengthened and we need to learn what and how it means to allow God to work in our situation? Yes! But this is usually, at least for me, very little comfort.
Maybe even now you are in a place of questioning. So what is the break through? I can only give to you what my break through was. Let's look at a servant of God in the Old Testament, let's consider His servant Job. When reading Job, understand that it is a book of Poetry, so the language is flowery. There is a lot of simile, metaphor and hyperbole, so the language at times feels very dramatic and over the top. When we understand that, we can get out of our own way and see the truths that are being conveyed.
Basically the Lord gives Satan permission to test Job without taking his life. Through a series of trials, Satan takes everything from Job; his wealth, his family (except his wife), his health. Through all of this, even though he is encouraged to "curse God and die", Job refuses. We do, however, see Job question God. He wallows over how God has forgotten him.
God's response is amazing. This is the part that floors me every time I read through it. The verses are too many to post, so read Job chapters 38-41 when you have time. For several chapters, God reminds Job of who He is. It's amazing how a well-placed rhetorical question can cause penetrating introspection! God's patient yet firm correction on Job's perspective is just awesome.
After hearing God's response to all of Job wallowing and self pit, of which I completely relate to; Job responds in chapter 42: 1-6
Then Job answered the LORD and said:
"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
It is important to see that in this moment Job realized something about God that he could not have learned had he not been faced with these trials and subsequently not been corrected with truth. He understood that before an Almighty God, his role in everything is very small. He "uttered what he did not understand, things too wonderful for him to know", yet God still found it valuable to test Job and have Job considered to the Enemy. God patiently answered his questions and made Himself known!!
While you are wrestling with your questions, read through Job and consider this story. Look at the protagonists (friendships, family, self, Satan) and see how they may line up to your life. Then read the response from the Almighty and ask yourself what God asks Job in 40:2 "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it." Then read through those questions in chapter 40 and I think we will all realize the same as Job and hopefully respond the same "therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Questions are not a bad thing! Asking God to reveal Himself in a way that we can accept what He is allowing in our lives is normal. Where Job went wrong was wallowing in His trial and attacking the nature of God with a very limited understanding. God revealed just a little bit to Job and he was blown away. I hope and pray that through Job's revelation, that we can learn enough about God to lead us to repentance and a greater trust.
Soli Deo Gloria