For most of my life, I struggled when it came to reading the book of Job.
This book from the Old Testament tells the story of a man named Job, hence the name. Evidently, Job was a righteous man. God was proud of him. Satan hated him. And Satan says to God, “Does Job love God for nothing? 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.”
Then the Lord says to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
And so Satan began to try to systematically destroy Job. You name it, Job loses it. Except his complaining nagging wife. Hmmmmm! Throughout the losses of all his children, all his animals, and all his wealth, Job remains faithful to the Lord. And boy, doesn’t Satan absolutely hate it when someone remains faithful to the Lord despite tragedy? So Satan wanted more. He reminds God of the phrase “skin for skin” and he sets out to inflict Job with more physical pain than anyone could image.
And Job went down. Yet, he refused to follow Satan’s script. He refused to curse God and die.
Consequently, people come to “help” Job. They talk at him and talk at him and talk at him. They, who are not experiencing any loss or suffering, seem to have all the answers for the man who is. I used to wonder why so much of the book of Job was devoted to people talking and talking and saying unhelpful things to Job.
Now that my family has been through what we’ve been through, I understand. God was trying to tell us, “Be ready. When you go through muddy waters people are going to think their words will be helpful. And most of the time they won’t be. But love them anyway.”
Job speaks, then his friends talk and talk, then he responds, and finally the Lord speaks. I absolutely adore how the beginning of Job Chapter 38 begins: “Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm.”
Out. Of. The. Storm.
I don’t know about you, but when the sun is shining and the birds are singing and life is pleasant and wonderful, I’m not always paying attention to Who and What I should be paying attention. Life’s good! Chill out! I’ve got this! I’m strong! I’m tough! I can work it out!
But in the storm? Well, in the storm life is a bit different. Life isn’t pleasant and wonderful and I’m certainly paying way more attention to Who and What I should be paying attention. Life isn’t good. I don’t have this. I realize just how weak I am and know for a fact I can’t work it out by myself.
God speaks out of the storm. I don’t know about you, but I want to hear God speak. Does this mean I think each of us has to go through some storms to really hear God’s message?
Yeah. Yes. That’s what I mean. The wisdom I’ve learned from God in the sunshine pales in comparison to the wisdom I’ve learned from God in the storms. I have to check myself. Am I so busy railing against the storm that I can’t even hear God when He speaks out of it?
Can you imagine going through crappy storms and then not even benefiting from them? That would be horrible. A Christianity of comfort is an easy sell in our society here in 2018, which is ironic, because it’s out of the storm where God can truly be heard.
Until next week, Lord willing.