It may be hard to believe, but God is often doing the unthinkable. This summer, during difficult days of suffering and life change that abruptly entered our world, God kept me on the reading plan that I have been following since January.
As you can read in other posts, that plan and God’s providence were in sync. When the events that changed our life hit, my reading plan was going through 1 Peter and the book of Job. Quite possibly the two books of the Bible that would most relate to pilgrims who are walking some very hard and troubled roads, God had queued up at the perfect time. Interestingly, the readings through Job were slow, lasting several months. I just recently finished that slow reading (it was designed to be at times less than a chapter a day) and have been keeping notes of main, overarching principles from the whole book. Below I share these, and I am praying that God instills these truths deep into my heart so that I can walk the journey and declare with a heart of awe and worship, like Job…
“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Job 1:20-22
1. The message of Job demonstrates that redeemed people really can serve God out of true love for Him and a desire to honor him even when they are afflicted and suffering.
2. One major lesson from the book is that pure worship is not only possible, but that such times of suffering can deepen our insight into the nature of God’s character.
3. Job suffered but did not give up on God, which proves that worship is not connected to material blessing or a life of comfort and things going “right” but rooted in knowing an all-powerful and merciful God.
4. Job’s sufferings (and the fact that he was hidden from the scenes of heaven) demonstrate that God’s redeemed can trust him even when logical explanations of trials, pain, and suffering, seem to be missing. Living under the mystery of the providence of God does not detract from trusting him.
5. Job’s reaction in suffering demonstrate that the silence that comes from suffering is mirrored in the silence of awe of a holy and righteous God.
6. The book shows that there is a vast difference between the Creator and his creation and that we cannot fully comprehend or explain his ways. If we could, he would no longer be God.
7. Truths in Job speak to us that God Most High cannot do anything that is not in harmony with his perfection. Everything he does is right, good, and done for his glory. His ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30) and full of mercy and compassion (James 5:11).
8. Job’s journey through suffering teach us that when we come to realize (as much as we can) who God really is, we will be at a loss for questions that challenge the suffering at hand.
9. Job’s life and the character of God that we are able to see throughout, prove that God is always ready to give all who are hurting and grieving, his mercy and grace which will be sufficient for that moment (2 Corinthians 12:9).
10. Job’s lack of understanding in his suffering reveal to us God’s patience and willingness to work through the trial and teach us along the way in our greatest need. God is always revealing to us a bigger picture, a larger view of himself, a grander view of his mercy, power, and glory so that we can see who He is and how much He loves us.
The end of the book really hits home. In chapters 38-41, rather than giving Job answers he wouldn’t understand and that his heart couldn’t contain, God answered Job by pointing to himself, to his presence, power, and glory. He knew that Job’s instinct was to seek answers, when what Job really needed was to seek God.
So in the end, hope is found not in trying to solve all the mysteries that suffering brings our way but in running into the arms of the One who has no mystery (because of his infinite wisdom and knowledge) and offers us his presence, power, and promises.
Oh Sovereign One, give me a heart that is resolute to worship you for who you are! I need you more than I need answers to the hard to comprehend pain and trials that I find myself wriggling to get out of. Thank you that you are willing to use anything to bring me to my source of hope and life itself!