Are you in one of life’s storms? “Into each life some rain must fall” writes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. For some of us there’s not a cloud on the sky, for some it’s drizzling on us. Others of us – it’s raining. Some of us have been hit by a lightning bolt. Others of us have had a tornado or a hurricane just rip apart our lives. Job has had it the worst storms take everything from him. Job is mad at God. Job feels like God’s not answering his prayer. Job’s saying, “Lord, I just want a chance to plead my case in your court. That’s all I want! God, I just want you to show up.”
So, Job finally has his prayer answered. When God answers Job’s prayer, it’s interesting in Job 38 verse 1, it says; “The Lord answered Job out of a storm.” Do you find that fascinating? All these storms had wrecked Job’s life; but God spoke to Job out of the storm.
God says to Job, “Brace yourself like a man, and I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’’ In the book of Job, there are 288 question marks. In the following chapter, we will see that 78 of those 288 question marks come from God. What’s fascinating is that in Job 38 all the way through Job chapter 42, God never answers any of the questions that were raised by Job and his friends. He does not answer their questions. He just asks question after question after question. He gives Job a lesson on cosmology. He gives Job a lesson on zoology. He gives Job a lesson on physics and mathematics. Where were you, Job, when the foundations of the earth were laid? Do you know how difficult that was? Where were you when all the animals were made? What do you know about this? What do you know about that? And God just asked Job question after question after question that no human being could possibly answer.
The amazing thing is after God goes off on Job, this man who is naked, sitting on a big pile of garbage, scraping himself with a broken piece of pottery, his life is shattered, and his friends have given poor advice. What kind of comfort is that? The amazing thing is that after God finished, Job was okay. He didn’t answer any of his questions, just asked a bunch of questions – and Job’s okay.
At the end of the book of Job, Job had everything restored to him – he got a lot more camels, a lot more donkeys, and ten kids to replace the ten kids who had died in the storm. Had all this prosperity, was able to visit with his great-great grandchildren. He died a man – a happy man – at a ripe old age. How did it happen?
Did he die happy because God compensated him? Is that the point of the book of Job? If you have faith and trust God, He’s going to compensate you? He’s going to bless you in this life, and the life to come? God gave him ten children to replace the other ten children. Is that why Job died happy? He got a rebate and more?
No! You cannot replace the loss of a child, much less ten children. You cannot replace that loss. So why did Job die happy? Look at Job 42:1: (After the Lord’s 78 questions) “Job replies to the Lord, ‘I know that You can do all things. No plan of Yours can be thwarted. You ask 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. You said, “Listen now and I will speak. I will question you and you shall answer Me.” My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.’”
Why did Job die happy? He did so because God gave Job a glimpse of the big picture. That’s it. God gave Job a view – a panoramic view – of the big picture. He gave Job a view of His power; He gave Job a view of His sovereignty. He gave Job just a taste of His presence, and Job was completely satisfied.
I’m a bad photographer. I mess up my pictures all the time. I look at ones that I think will be great and then they are all fuzzy. But God is a great photographer. Because God has a wide angled lens, and God sees not only what’s in front of you, He sees the whole panoramic view of the history of the universe, and He sees the entire panoramic view of your life and of my life. Nothing happens on this planet without God’s permission, without God’s sovereign hand behind it. It doesn’t mean that everything that happens on this planet, everything that happens in your life is good. Real evil happens to real people every single day. There are some things in this life that we will never figure out. There are some wounds that we will experience in this life that will never fully heal. But God’s panoramic view, the fact that God is sovereignly in control, gave Job great solace, gave Job great comfort. It amazes me as I read the scripture, because I’m a why person, and even though Job didn’t get an answer, he was satisfied.
Job was satisfied because God showed up. And even when God blessed him financially again, when God blessed him with children again, that was simply an appetizer. All the goodness, all the joy, all the happiness, all the pleasures that we experience here on this earth – it’s simply a foretaste, an appetizer to the big meal! Heaven.
We know that life here is only temporary. That’s just a speck compared to the joys and the pleasures and the comfort of heaven.
He’s promised us His presence, His presence. And God’s presence is with you whether we feel it or not.
Sometimes He allows us to feel His presence, sometimes He gives us those feelings, but many times there are no feelings there. Nothing – but God is with us. I like this poem entitled I Believe.
I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even when I feel it not.
I believe in God, even when He is silent.
This poem was found scribbled on the walls of a concentration camp.
What did Job want? Job simply wanted God to not be silent, and God spoke up! He made a cameo appearance. And that was enough.
Do you ever ask for that? Have you ever asked for that in your life? Have you ever said, “God, I wish You would come down out of heaven and talk to me.” “Lord, I want You to perform some kind of miracle, give me some kind of sign to know that You’re real.” “God, I sure wish You would give me some explanation for why I had to go through this particular storm, why I had to get this particular disease, why I had to go through this certain situation of rejection, why You had to take this person out of my life. Why I had to endure this affliction, this pain. Lord, I just want You to tell me, show me, show up, do something? Have you ever had those feelings?
Jesus Christ answers Job’s questions. Have you ever thought about that? Because through Christ, we have God’s presence with us. We want an audience with God; God has spoken to us through nature. God has spoken to us through His prophets. God has spoken to us through the law, and God ultimately spoke to us through His Son, the incarnation. God is with us. Jesus Christ offers healing for us – isn’t that great? I’m not saying He’s going to make everything hunky-dory. Just a snap of His fingers, just pray the prayer, believe hard enough and all your problems, all the pain, all the hurt’s going to go away. No. But God will, through Christ and through His presence, give us healing to know that His presence is with us. He’ll give us healing from the penalty of sin. That’s our deepest need – is to be made right with this holy, powerful God. And the only way to be made right with Him is through trusting in Jesus Christ and in Christ alone, who suffered in your place and in my place.
So, we look at Christ, we gain healing for the present and we also gain hope for the future. As we look to the cross, we realize that our sin and our life was so ugly, that it cost God the death of His only Son.
And we realize through trusting in the person of Christ that we are forgiven. And then we receive a partial healing in this life, but we receive hope in the eternal life that we will one day be with Him in a perfect world, a new heavens and a new earth, where there’s no sickness, where there’s no pain, where there’s no suffering. In Christ we have that!
I have experienced the love, salvation and presence of Christ in my life and I pray that you may too.
Sources: Life Application Bible Notes, Bible Exposition Commentary and also adapted from Dr. Ben Young’s “Why Job Died Smiling”