I have been ploughing my way through the book of Job in the last while. I say ploughing because it certainly feels like Job’s friends are repeatedly gunning him down with their words, chapter after chapter. By the time I reached chapter 38, when God speaks, I heaved a big sigh of relief. This is who we want to hear from – God.
Job 1:1 describes Job as blameless, upright, and one who feared God and turned away from evil. Poor Job was going through the most challenging time of his life, losing his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, seven sons, and three daughters. Yet his first response was to worship God in his mourning:
‘Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped. 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)
Job then became sick with sores from head to toe. Even his wife told him that he should curse God, but Job 2:10 tells us that he did not sin with his lips. As we might expect, Job starts to waver in his confidence that God was for him. He goes so far as to say that God was treating him as an enemy, not as a friend or as His child. Later, Job reached a point where he confessed in that he would see God as his Redeemer after death (Job 19:25-27) – instead of cursing God, Job remains faithful.
Trials and tribulations teach us hard lessons, as Charles Spurgeon said, ‘I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages’.
We can ‘learn to kiss the wave’ because Christ is near to us and supreme over all things. The nearness of God is our good, and the trials we endure have a tendency to awaken us to this truth. In times of trial, we can also, like Job, remember God, who in Jesus Christ is called Immanuel, ‘God with us’. Nothing can separate us from God’s love, so when trials throw us into the Rock of Ages, we can rest on that Rock.
In the midst of suffering, we must never lose our hope in God. In Job 13, Job says ‘Though He slay me, I will hope in Him’. No one and nothing can steal your joy or peace when your hope is in God.
In the midst of God’s silence, His presence is with us. Job wrestled with God’s silence in the midst of his suffering. He kept asking ‘Why?’ and he kept asking for the opportunity to defend his case before God. Jesus is our good shepherd (Jn 10:1-21), and He never leaves our side. He walks with us through the valleys. He restores our soul when we are weary. He leads us to the path of righteousness when we have lost our way. He gives us courage when we are scared, and he comforts us when we are hurting.
Our God is the God of the storm.
God is in control. He is the creator and sustainer of the universe, and He is mighty and powerful. Surely we can trust Him with our lives? In Job 1, we see that nothing came into Job’s life which did not fist go through the hands of his loving God.
When we feel stressed and frustrated, step back and take a look at all of God’s creation. Get outside under the big sky and remind yourself who your God is. Get into His Word and learn more about His love for you. Trust that if He can create and sustain the entire universe, surely He will take care of you.
At the end of the account, God rewarded Job for his faithfulness. May we be found faithful today. Keep walking with Jesus. Let us look to Jesus and remember who He is, our Rock of Ages, our everlasting strength.