By Ellen Ceely
“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cling together? Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their thicket? Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food?” - Job 38:34-41
All my life, I’ve heard that God’s majesty and power are greater than I can even begin to comprehend. But I still forget this truth when troubles weigh on my heart. I forget that Scripture has a way of pointing out just how big God really is.
Job forgot too. His life fell apart, and he lost everything. The loss was so heavy that he had trouble remembering God’s greatness. From a human perspective, we understand Job’s response. It’s difficult to walk through tragedy and not question God’s goodness or his presence.
In these verses, God continues to challenge Job to remember who he is. God is still in control, even when tragedy and sickness strike. From the beginning of the book, Scripture affirms that Job’s tragedies didn’t happen because of his sin. But why would God allow Satan to wreak havoc on a faithful and righteous follower? That’s the hardest question we must wrestle with in this story.
While there can be a variety of answers for why God allows his people to suffer, I believe that the answer here is twofold. First, I believe God allowed Job to suffer because he wanted to remind Satan that he cannot triumph over those who follow the Lord. Those who call on the Lord belong to God and God alone. The enemy cannot overcome or defeat them, no matter what evil things might come their way. Second, God knew that through the suffering, Job would ultimately grow closer to God. Job would remember that God is still God and worthy to be praised even when life is hard.
God saw beyond what Job was going through. He knew the end of Job’s story. He knew that he would bless Job with more children and wealth than he had before (Job 42:10-17). God knew that Job’s suffering would be horrible but that it would draw Job closer to him. Even Job’s friends, I believe, were changed because of what they saw happen between Job and God.
When I struggle and suffer, Job’s story reminds me that God knows the end game. He sees beyond my pain. He holds me in the palm of his hand, and he has a plan. It’s my place to trust him and walk through these challenging times with him. It’s my place to remember how mighty and wise he is.
We like to sing songs about how we’ll follow God through the good and the bad. Take a moment to reflect on that idea and write down what that looks like and means to you. How will you walk with God through difficult times? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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