John was born and raised within a large family. His father worked as a small town preacher so John experienced poverty first hand. His mother home-schooled all the children with discipline as rigorous as the best schools in the area. John was raised in a strict environment. As a young boy, he was rescued from a burning second story window moments before the roof caved in. John would refer to this incident repeatedly as testimony he was delivered by the hand of God for a unique mission.
Soon after graduating from seminary, John felt the call to become a chaplain and missionary across the sea in a newly-developed colony which included prisoners and a local tribe of Indians. Fresh out of the disciplined life of school, he was not prepared for the harsh living conditions deep in the country. Often, John wore his formal attire even when working in the woods. His insistence on holding worship services as if he were in the city seemed odd. The Indians and everyone else mostly laughed at him.
On top of all this, John fell in love but couldn’t seem to make up his mind whether to marry. He should have but he didn’t. Tired of waiting, his sweetheart gave up on him and married someone else. Furious, John refused to serve communion to the newly married couple. This unfortunate incident turned out to be the last straw for everyone; soon John was run out of town and found himself back on a ship headed toward England.
On the journey home there was a ferocious storm. The ship tossed erratically amidst the monstrous waves. John, feeling depressed because of his failed mission was heartbroken, seasick and scared out of his wits.
Yet, it was at this point John’s life was about to turn around.
In another time and place, a man named Job also was caught up in a severe storm. Job was a prosperous farmer living in the land of Uz. He was described by God as “the finest man in all the earth – a man of complete integrity.” (Job 1:8) But Job through no fault of his own lost his possessions, his family and even his good health. He was left desolate and alone, sitting on an ash heap scrapping his itching, boil covered skin with a broken piece of pottery.
Oh yeah — sitting with him are three friends: Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. Friends? Some friends!
Job cries out to God proclaiming his innocence while the three stooges – er, friends — began spouting their litany of possible explanations for Job’s plight:
- Maybe, you did something wrong, Job.
- Could it be your children’s fault?
- Somebody must have done something wrong!
- You are simply being disciplined.
- Don’t be angry with God, it’s your fault!
- Shut up; you have no right to complain.
Whoa! With friends like these three, who needs enemies?
Meanwhile, Job confused and even angry at times continues crying out to almighty God! “If only I had someone who would listen to me and try to see my side!” says Job. “Look, I will sign my name to my defense. Let the almighty show me that I am wrong — I would face the accusation proudly.” (31:35-36)
Yet, it was at this point Job’s life was about to turn around.
In other words, where is God when we are caught up in the midst of a storm? Good question!
Next: Answers from our two men named J