These are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power? Job 26:14
Recently I strained my back trying to pick up a two-year old boy. I thought he was a girl because he had beautiful shoulder-length curly hair. As I tried to lift him, I changed my mind and quickly put him down. My back began to hurt about twenty-four hours later.
Now, almost three months later, my back still hurts severely in spite of various doctors and treatments. I feel like the woman who “had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse” (Mark 5:26).
One sleepless night I picked up my Bible and turned to Job. I knew God had reasons for allowing suffering, and that He didn’t have to seek my approval for what He chose to do. Nevertheless I asked Him to speak to me from His Word. Job could not understand why bad things were happening to him. The Bible says he was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). Hadn’t God prospered him and given him many sons and daughters, livestock and crops?
When Job questioned God, at first there was only silence. Job’s annoying friends quickly filled the silence, not with comfort but with accusations. When God did speak, He spoke of His power over creation, over everything. Job was humbled; he had no more questions.
After I read Job’s story, I still didn’t know why I was suffering or how much longer I would suffer. I knew I wasn’t “blameless and upright” like Job. Was God disciplining me? What was He trying to teach me? I couldn’t answer those questions, but I knew God wanted me to get my eyes off my powerlessness and focus on His almighty power.
Do you have trouble understanding why you are powerless over the bad things that happen? Has God responded to your questions with silence? Take your eyes off your powerlessness, put them on His almighty power over everything. Trust His goodness. He is present with us and gives us His strength when we need it.
Read Job 30:16-31. This is a good description of many nights I’ve known. Can you identify with Job’s pain too? Why do you think God preserved the story of Job?
Read Job 23:10 and Zechariah 13:9. Do you know how gold is refined? It’s heated and melted. Is God refining you? Can you feel the fiery heat? Have you melted completely?
Read Job 19:25-29, 42:5. These verses from Job—one of the oldest books of the Bible—were written long before Jesus came to earth. What truths did Job cling to in the midst of his suffering? What gives you hope in the midst of your suffering?
Nancy J. Baker