Suffering, suffering, suffering. I have so many friends in my life right now that have a heap of suffering on their plates. I have three close friends that are dealing with medical issues that would make any strong man weak. Its ugly, dark name is Cancer.
Job suffered. Here is a man that is minding his own beeswax and BAM! Satan was allowed to rock his world. And rock his world he did…..So I began reading about Job and when you read it from The Message (rather than the King James Version) it really will start to rock YOUR world. The subject is all about suffering and the mystery that surrounds it. And the mystery is that it’s NEVER FULLY EXPLAINED!!! What? I need a “why”…..I’m FILLED with questions!! Hmm….seems that Job had some too…
Job had been foolishly questioning the justice of God’s dealings with him (ok, I imagine that if I am head to toe with boils and my family has just died and all my livestock is gone and I’m left only with my dazzling personality…then, yeah. I just might question what is going on) Yikes! Stop, Job! This is GOD you are talking to! NOW, the Lord is going to do the questioning and it’s time for Job to put on his big boy pants and get ready to listen…then answer….
This is taken from The Message and is Job chapter 38…
1 And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said:
2-11 “Why do you confuse the issue?
Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about?
Pull yourself together, Job!
Up on your feet! Stand tall!
I have some questions for you,
and I want some straight answers.
Where were you when I created the earth?
Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that!
Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
and all the angels shouted praise?
And who took charge of the ocean
when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?
That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds,
and tucked it in safely at night.
Then I made a playpen for it,
a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose,
And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place.
Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.’
12-15 “And have you ever ordered Morning, ‘Get up!’
told Dawn, ‘Get to work!’
So you could seize Earth like a blanket
and shake out the wicked like cockroaches?
As the sun brings everything to light,
brings out all the colors and shapes,
The cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked—
they’re caught in the very act!
16-18 “Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things,
explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean?
Do you know the first thing about death?
Do you have one clue regarding death’s dark mysteries?
And do you have any idea how large this earth is?
Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer.
19-21 “Do you know where Light comes from
and where Darkness lives
So you can take them by the hand
and lead them home when they get lost?
Why, of course you know that.
You’ve known them all your life,
grown up in the same neighborhood with them!
22-30 “Have you ever traveled to where snow is made,
seen the vault where hail is stockpiled,
The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness
for times of trouble and battle and war?
Can you find your way to where lightning is launched,
or to the place from which the wind blows?
Who do you suppose carves canyons
for the downpours of rain, and charts
the route of thunderstorms
That bring water to unvisited fields,
deserts no one ever lays eyes on,
Drenching the useless wastelands
so they’re carpeted with wildflowers and grass?
And who do you think is the father of rain and dew,
the mother of ice and frost?
You don’t for a minute imagine
these marvels of weather just happen, do you?
31-33 “Can you catch the eye of the beautiful Pleiades sisters,
or distract Orion from his hunt?
Can you get Venus to look your way,
or get the Great Bear and her cubs to come out and play?
Do you know the first thing about the sky’s constellations
and how they affect things on Earth?
34-35 “Can you get the attention of the clouds,
and commission a shower of rain?
Can you take charge of the lightning bolts
and have them report to you for orders?”
Ok….there is more…..much, much more. I tried to think about Job and what was going through his head as THE CREATOR of ALL is speaking to him! I’m imagining Job feeling very small, very powerless, very inadequate, and very insignificant. I have felt that way before. When I sit in the audience of a powerful preacher or gifted speaker, I am amazed at how much I DON’T know!
In the 40th chapter of Job, he finally answers God. Basically he slaps his hand over his mouth and says, “Ooopsy…” (ok, that is my version)… Here are Job’s words from chap. 40, verse 3-5….”I’m speechless, In awe– words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth! I’ve talked too much, way too much. I’m ready to shut up and listen.”
Ok, my peeps. How many times have we muttered those same very words!! Too often. But God is so gracious and is so giving. By the time chapter 42 rolls around, Job is overwhelmed. He has acknowledged the sovereignty of God. At the end of this book he is humble and confesses that he spoke out of turn. Job eventually receives TWICE as much as he had ever had and even though he had been so disfigured from the boils and disease, he had daughters that were exceptionally beautiful. (I like that part).
So….I’m going to keep digging around in this book and find out what the heck we CAN be sure of……….(to be continued….)