Have you ever felt that God just wasn’t there? That you were on some island in the middle of the great ocean with emptiness all around you? It’s dark, misty, quiet.
Questions start to flood your mind. Everything you have ever known has been turned upside down. You feel lost. You question your goodness, God’s goodness, and the purpose of all that is happening. Is God really there? Does he even exist?
In this passage, Job calls on God to plead his case. He knows he is innocent and wants to duke it out with God. He has questions that need answers. Job is asking to come up to the presence of the Judge.
S – Scripture: Job 10-13
- 10:1-9 – “I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. My bitter soul must complain. I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me–tell me the charge you are bringing against me. What do you gain by oppressing me? Why do you reject me, the work of your own hands, while smiling on the schemes of the wicked? Are your eyes like those of a human? Do you see things only as people see them? Is your lifetime only as long as ours? Is your life so short that you must quickly probe for my guilt and search for my sin? Although you know I am not guilty, no one can rescue me from your hands. “‘You formed me with your hands; you made me, yet now you completely destroy me. Remember that you made me from dust–will you turn me back to dust so soon?”
- 10:13-15 – “‘Yet your real motive–your true intent– was to watch me, and if I sinned, you would not forgive my guilt. If I am guilty, too bad for me; and even if I’m innocent, I can’t hold my head high, because I am filled with shame and misery. And if I hold my head high, you hunt me like a lion and display your awesome power against me.”
- 12:4-6 – “Yet my friends laugh at me, for I call on God and expect an answer. I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me. People who are at ease mock those in trouble. They give a push to people who are stumbling. But robbers are left in peace, and those who provoke God live in safety–though God keeps them in his power.”
- 13:3 – “As for me, I would speak directly to the Almighty. I want to argue my case with God himself.”
- 13:23-25 – “Tell me, what have I done wrong? Show me my rebellion and my sin. Why do you turn away from me? Why do you treat me as your enemy? Would you terrify a leaf blown by the wind? Would you chase dry straw?”
O – Observation:
- It’s almost as if God allows us time to question him, our existence, our circumstance, etc. all to grow closer to him.
- 12:13 “True wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.”
- Platitudes are useless and not helpful.
- Satan will use all his resources to try to pull us away from God – even friends.
A – Application:
In the midst of one of the toughest trials of my life, my mom sent me a beautiful devotional from Oswald Chambers. You can read the whole thing here. The point that stuck with me was:
“It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child.”
There are so many questions that run through our minds during a trial. Our brains race, trying to grasp onto some form of an answer – some form of control. The question that changed my journey through this wrestling match of why was, “what am I supposed to unlearn?”
This was a turning point for me. It gave me a mission in my suffering and a way to draw closer to God. It gave me permission to question my relationship with him and break down the ideas that I had formed about him. I began to see him differently and my affinity towards him deepened.
You see, my faith had been stripped down to its very core. It was to the point that I questioned if God was even there. My brokenness brought me to the most simplified version of faith. In that moment of deepest grief I could only say that I believed there was a God and that he was my God.
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20
From that, I experienced an unexplainable sense of grace and peace. I was a child who could only lay in the hands of her Father and just breath. Tears stream down my face just remembering how gentle and gracious God was in that moment. So tender for my aching heart.
It didn’t answer all of the other questions in my head, but answers weren’t really what I needed. I needed a gracious, loving, and gentle Savior that I could just rest in. I needed to quiet myself enough to just feel my heart beat and breath flow.
Job was calling for God’s presence to plead his case. He laid out all of his questions, everything on his heart. We don’t have a conclusion yet, but it’s coming.
For now, whatever you are going through, ask yourself, “what is God calling me to unlearn?” What parts of my faith need to be stripped away, so all that is left is what God wants there. It only takes a mustard seed size of faith for God to move. If you feel that’s all you have, that’s enough for God to work. Rest in his gentle and loving arms. Surrender enough to feel your heart and your breath beat through you. Allow yourself to be raw and broken and a child. Know that the life-giving Father is caring for you right now.
P – Prayer:
God, waiting is hard. My mind just won’t settle. My heart races and I feel like I’ve lost all control. Set my feet on solid ground. Help me to rest in you and gentle grace. Settle my heart and mind on the simplest form of who you are. Amen.
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