It’s been 4 weeks to the day now, since I woke up and could not walk. My life changed in an instant, without warning. In the grand scheme of things, I’m still here. There are far worse tragedies, if we even want to call it that.
My faith has not wavered, but that doesn’t mean I have not struggled. There are days where all I can muster is a resounding “This SUCKS!” Then the next day I force myself up and do stair climb repetitions and laugh at the absurdity of it all. However, that age old question still darts around my brain…
Job asked why once. His friends told him it was his fault and God was punishing him. They made great and glorious claims about the divinity of God, His majesty, and how God manages the world, and what Job should do about it. They sounded righteous, and holy.
God had a lot to say on the matter. You see He didn’t mind Job asking why. Job never made claims about the way God operates, only that he did not understand and was upset. It made no sense. His friends on the other hand, thought they understood God, and instead of comforting Job, chose to speak on God’s behalf, as if they had the authority to do so.
God’s response was intense. He flat out told Job’s friends they were wrong. Their claims were wrong, their attitudes were wrong, their friendships were false. He would not even forgive them unless Job spoke on their behalf. Ya know, the guy they had just claimed was being punished by God and was sinful in some way. Irony at its finest. (Job 42:7-9)
God’s response to Job was also intense. Quite literally a whirlwind. He told Job, if you want an answer, you best buckle up! (Job 38:3, Job 40:7)
He shows Job a vast and complex universe. Stars, seas, and great leviathans. He does not give Job a direct simple answer. He shows Job a small glimpse of Himself.
Now some will interpret this as God saying, “I’m in charge and I can do what I want.” But you see, I’ve always had a backwards way of talking. (I’ve been told it’s a problem. Ha!) My comfort sounds like anger, and my encouragement sounds like insults. Not to mention we can come dangerously close to being like Jobs friends if we start making claims about Gods intentions.
I’ve always found God’s response to Job comforting. It’s not about intentions. It’s not about the why. It’s about knowing and trusting that God holds the universe. This great, swirling, infinite world… and that same God knows me in a way that I do not even know myself.
Philippians 4:13 is a very popular verse. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” However, is often quoted without the preceding verses, which are important for context.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” ??Philippians? ?4?:?11?-?13? ?NIV??
Faith is not about the circumstances. It’s not about the claims people make on behalf of Gods intentions. It’s not about the why. If I am healed completely, or not, there is an infinite God who holds me in the palm of His hand, who hears me, and strengthens me IN SPITE OF the circumstances.
It is here my faith resides: I do not have to understand. God is in control; I have nothing to fear. I will trust in the creator of life. Be it good or bad, it is all to His glory.