I recently finished reading the book of Job. I have read it several times, and even went through Chuck Swindoll's Bible study several years ago with a group of women. The whole story of Job is disturbing. A righteous man (God said so) and God gives Satan permission to take away everything but his life. Children dead, animals dead, boils all over his body, bad friends with bad advice, and, worst of all, silence from the Lord.
Chapter 38, when God answers Job out of the whirlwind, is where it came together a little bit for me this time around. All through the tremendous trials, Job has been talking to God. He has complained with brutal honesty (Job 10:1-2):
I loathe my life;I will give free utterance to my complaint;However, he never stops taking his pain and anger and hurt to God. Finally, the Lord replies to him through chapters 38-40. Rather than the apology or explanation that I kind of want to hear from God, He simply tells Job that He, the Lord, Yahweh, Creator of Heaven and Earth, is in charge and can do what He wants. I sometimes think that, if I were Job, I would STILL be upset with the Lord and still want Him to answer my questions--why did you do this to me? How is this fair? But that's not what Job does. Job's response is recorded in Job 40:3-5:
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will say to God, Do not condemn me;
let me know why you contend against me.
Then Job answered the LORD and said:Job backs down. He stops questioning. He accepts what the Lord has done without any more arguing. Hmm. Why? I think it's because Job has heard the voice of God. Directly heard the Lord speak--not through scripture, not through a pastor, not even through the whispers of the Holy Spirit, but has HEARD THE VOICE OF GOD. And that is enough.
"Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
twice, but I will proceed no further."
Though I try and try to enlarge my picture of God, I still see Him too small. He made it all. Everything. As he said to Job (Job 38:4-7):
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?Sometimes (and please step away before the lightening strikes), I dare to think that God owes me an explanation for the hard and seemingly unfair things in my life: No marriage. No children. Bottom line: The Lord can do what He wants because He is the Creator of everything. I'm only alive because of His breath in me. I am only saved because of His tremendous grace given through Jesus. He doesn't have to explain Himself to me ever. That sounds harsh, I know. Yet Job, who suffered unfathomable grief even though righteous, became silent when confronted with the majesty and power of the Lord. How can I do less?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
P.S. Even after the complaining and honestly, this is what the Lord said of Job (Job 42:7):
After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.It's a topic for another post, but God wants us to come to Him with even the worst of our feelings.