Now what! I mentioned unexpected storms that cause you to stumble, so I faked a little stumble during our worship service and ended up falling… hard. Dumb! Very dumb!
Speaking of unexpected storms: Weathermen told us to prepare for an inch or two of snow recently so no one panicked. But instead, the snow came down all night dropping over seventeen inches. That is a lot of snow in our area and the whole county has come to a complete standstill. Oh well; at least we didn’t lose our electricity “Hey! Who turned out the lights!”
Sudden storms happen so that is why understanding Job is so important. Why would “a man of complete integrity,” (Job 1:8) suffer so grievously? Job’s three friends provide no help at all as they continue to look for something he must have done wrong. Some friends! Yet when others fall, don’t we often shake our heads and offer trite explanations, unwanted criticism and slanderous gossip?
“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) In other words… where is God when we fall hard? Good question!
“Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind. Brace yourself because I have some questions for you… Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Who defined the boundaries of the sea? Have you ever commanded the morning to appear? Where does the light come from? Can you hold back the movements of the stars?” (Parts of Job 38)
This sounds impressive but I’m left with more questions than answers. After all, Job was asking, where were you when I was suffering? Why am I suffering when I’ve followed you loyally? Yet, God only says, where were you when I created the earth?
I have to ask: What kind of answer is that?
It may be the best answer of all because Job comprehends just who God really is. He responds, “I know that you can do anything, and I was talking about things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me. I take back everything I said.” (42:2-3)
Wait a minute! What did Job understand?
Now may be a good time to look back on a mysterious conversation at the beginning of Job between God and Satan.
In the beginning, God holds up Job as a shining example but Satan replies: “Yes, Job fears God, but not without good reason! You have always protected him and his home and his property from harm. But take away everything he has and he will surely curse you to your face!” (1:9-11)
You see, all the forces of good and evil are carefully watching Job! How would he respond to catastrophe? We see him cry for mercy, beg for answers and scream from the pain but when God finally appears: What will Job do then?
He’s expected to curse and complain.
Instead, Job chooses to trust and because of his courage all of heaven celebrates.
The great violinist, Nicolo Paganini is left with one string and a concert hall full of expectant listeners. What would he do? Everyone is watching and waiting. Paganini held the violin high for everyone to see and shouted, “Paganini and one string!” He nodded to the conductor to begin and with a twinkle in his eye, began to play as the audience shook their heads in amazement.
Dr. Victor Frankl stood before the glaring lights of the Nazi courtroom stripped of everything or was he? He suddenly realized there was one thing they could never take away from him – just one. He had the power to choose his attitude. Would he choose bitterness or forgiveness? Would he submit to the sadistic brutality or would he dare to shout out, “Dr. Frankl and one string!”
- When the doctor calls; can you trust in God’s presence to see you through?
- When your spouse abandons you; can you believe in a God who is ever faithful?
- When another car suddenly pulls in front of yours; can you believe God is still in control?
- When everything seems to break; can you cling to the one string God always provides?
Studying Job fortifies your faith and strengthens the decisive one string on your violin called, “attitude:” The attitude string is part trust and part perseverance, which together can withstand the worst tragedies life can throw at you.
Sudden storms will always appear out of nowhere dumping seventeen inches of snow on a community prepared for two. Circumstances can lead to broken strings. The question is: How will you respond when you are down to that final string?
What attitude will you choose? Will you choose despair or faith!