I wrote thisÂ devotional for The Revolution newsletter that wasÂ supposed to come out on June 15… but I still haven’t seen it. So, I guess this is a sneak preview.Â
Job 38:4-7, 42:2-3
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?…”
…Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…”
Just when you think things don’t make sense, take a step back–a long step back. In fact, you might as well go ahead and take another… and another. Take two or three more, until you are on the other side of the office. Back-pedal some more until you’re in a different room. Keep going.
There. Now you’re a little closer–a little closer to God’s perspective on the matter. But to really get there, you’ll have to take a few more steps… 458 sextillion (21 zeros) miles worth of steps, to be more exact. That will get you to the edge of the universe–God’s territory.
Scripture recounts a time when Job fell victim to a grave mistake we all commit on a far more regular basis: he thought he knew something. He thought he knew why what was happening to him shouldn’t be. And the Lord promptly put him in his place. With thick sarcasm, the Lord proclaimed “Surely you know!” how the world was created (Job 38:5).
In cases of discerning God’s will, it’s best to approach the topic humbly–especially the whole “Why is this happening to me?” area Job struggled with. Most times, we haven’t a clue of all the variables that go into why bad things happen to good people, or vise versa. Blaming God is the last thing we should do–especially for Americans. We’re already blessed beyond measure.
Though Job’s famous three friends did a terrible job advising him in the ways of the Lord, the young Elihu moved in wisdom beyond his years and shed some light on the difficult situation (Job 32-36). We can learn a lot from Elihu; but here we’ll highlight the fact that wisdom and understanding don’t come from experience or knowledge; they come from the Lord. Elihu states to Job in 32:7-8: “Age should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.” And in 33:14-16, Elihu makes the point: “For God may speak in one way or in another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.”
When you’re faced with hard situations, which you inevitably will be, remember it is probably more complex that you can possibly comprehend. Move a few paces back and remind yourself that your perspective isn’t the only one and might not be the right one. Admit that you are fallible and God is not. Proclaim that His ways are higher than yours (Is. 55:9), that His foolishness is greater than your wisdom (1 Cor. 1:25) and that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).