This morning I am wanting hope. Not just for myself but for another who I love and who is in pain. I’ve come to God asking ‘why?’. Why is this happening ? Why don’t you change things? Why aren’t you helping me deal with the situation better?
The reason I’m asking these questions is because I feel so helpless and out of control. I can’t change the situation. I would do anything that I could to change it, but it seems that nothing I do makes a difference. Believe me I have tried.
And so I’ve turned in the bible to the book of Job. Job who lost everything and suffered much. Job who did not understand what was happening, but still would not speak against God. He thought back over his life, trying to think of what he might have done that was bringing about such terrible consequences. I found myself doing that this morning. ‘Is this because I’ve done wrong things? Is this a punishment? Do I need to do something to make this change?’
I think that is the enemy trying to get me to look downwards. Tricking me into thinking that everything is all about me, and that I have a greater importance than God. Urging me to be self-reliant and self-rescuing in this situation, rather than turning to God.
Because when I get to the part of the book of Job where God answers I am instantly stilled, as I realise that the God in whom I trust is far outside of my understanding, and his power is infinite. Rather than crushing me, that gives me hope.
It gives me hope because I realise that in my own strength I can do nothing, and I am therefore released from the pressure to have all the answers to the difficult situations. I don’t have them. And that is ok. God doesn’t answer Job’s question. He doesn’t explain why he has suffered as he has. Instead He brings Job’s attention to the difference between God and man.
I love how God begins his response to Job,
“Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
And you shall answer me.” 38 v 3
He then asks him the most wonderful questions:
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?
Have you ever given orders to the morning….
Where does darkness reside?
Can you bind the beautiful Pleaiades?
Can you loose the cords of Orion?
The questions go on and on and on. They tell a story of God’s glory and power and delight in creation.
Job responds at the end saying ‘My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.’
I feel like I’ve been reminded this morning that there is always Hope because of who God is. That at the end of time, because of God’s love for us, and ultimate rescue from this broken world, we will live in the fulfillment of that hope. My ears had heard of God, but I have seen Him, and I know that He is who He says He is. This situation is no different to the difficulty of my marriage. I had no idea how that could ever change, could ever be restored, and I knew that I could not make it happen. I had to ask God to be all that I needed, and then I had to wait. I’ve done that, and continue to do it, and He has done more than I could ever have asked or imagined.
And so too with this situation. Is God enough for it? Can He be? Wait.
I have looked upwards again, rather than inwards. I am still crying out to God, but instead of asking why and what do I do, I’m asking for His presence with us. His presence which will bring the ability to love and have patience, to endure and to follow, to see the big story. Perhaps the fact that it is the Advent season will remind me daily that waiting is what we do. And while we wait we can still find joy in the hope that we have been given.