Read: Job 40:1-24
“Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.” Job 40:7
How many of us, in our youth, have ever been dealt the parental dictum, “Because I said so!”? Being a child that loved to challenge the authority of his mother, you could imagine I am very familiar with the “up in your face, finger pointing” line. It’s an authoritative declaration that no child interested in reason or logic wants to hear. Better yet, it’s a phrase that no child wants to hear when they are subjected to something that does not meet their understanding or favorable point of view. I often recall being told to do chores, eat my brussels sprouts before getting up from the table, doing homework on days I wish I could just watch television… and those examples are just from the last few years of marriage; let’s not even talk about my teen years (that was a joke). It was my responsibility to accept what was asked of me, not refuse or complain, unfortunately, which I had a tendency to do. Interestingly enough, questioning authority is not just a childhood epidemic. Questioning authority also plagues adults, which more than likely is where the children learn it.
Any of us chronic complainers? How about individuals that only complain every few days, or maybe months, or perhaps years? I know in just the past two months, I have questioned why does it rain so much in West Virginia? No matter the scenario, we find stuff to complain about.
This brings us to the story of Job. Job was a man that was beyond wealthy, had a huge family, lots of land, livestock, and businesses, and knew it all came from God. You could pretty much sum this guy up by combining Bill Gates, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and throw in a touch of Billy Graham’s spiritual side. However, God permitted Satan to test Job’s faith in order to prove that God’s servant would be faithful no matter the circumstance. Shortly after, all of his wealth and children were taken from Job, even his own health. If anyone had a right to complain, it was Job. He knew that God was the ultimate authority, yet still questioned why He would allow this to occur to a faithful follower.
Then, in steps the presence of God (cue the dramatic, larger than life music). God did not explain Himself or coddle Job. Instead, He responded, “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” Other versions of scripture say, “Gird up your loins like a man.” I could picture Job, “Umm, Lord is that really you?… I was expecting a soft and fuzzy response to my complaining prayer.” In fact just prior to this, Job tried to tell God he was unworthy and should not have questioned Him.
God spiritually put Job in his place and the truth is that at times, He does with us as well. Some may question, “How could a loving God do this?” It’s called tough love. God did love Job, as He loves all of us, and more than likely had a broken heart along with Job as He watched all of this happen to him. However, in the spiritual realm, the Lord was proving to Satan something so much greater… That God is the one true King! Satan cannot act without approaching God first and certainly has no power over those the Lord calls His children.
If you are going through a difficult time, remember that GOD IS IN CONTROL! God is bigger than our problems and certainly bigger than the creator of our problems. He designed and put the planets and stars into motion. He taught the animals how to live instinctively. He developed a way for plants to make their own food. And most important, He created us in His very own image and calls us His. It may be tough to hear and our circumstances may seem horrific, but essentially God wants us to stand our ground, not be shaken in our faith, and wait for His presence in all things. So next time, rather than complain, trust that the situation is best in His hands and not in ours.
Lord, help us to see how small our problems are compared next to your great existence. Show us that in all things, you will watch over us and protect us from the ways of the evil one. And in times when we are complaining, show us your authority over all creation as you did with Job. We pray this in Your Almighty Name, Amen.