At the beginning of September I went to a conference in Nashville. It was a music conference centered around the book of Psalms. There were a ton of great speakers and leaders there, but the last one really stood out to me. J.D. Greear (the president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of Summit Church in Durham, NC) was the speaker. The entire conference had been based on the book of Psalms and he stood up and said, “I had to get special permission because I am not going to talk about Psalms today, I’m going to talk about Job.”
He went on to give an overview of the book. How God allowed Job to be tested by Satan by taking away everything he had. Everything earthly that is. The next 40 chapters are all about Job discussing with God or his friends about why God would allow this and asking question after question. At the end of the book, in chapters 38-40, God comes back with a list of questions for Job. Some quite obscure. “Where were you when I formed the earth?...Do you know when the mountain lions give birth? Have you watched the deer in labor?...” and on and on.
What in the world? Of course there’s no way for Job to even begin to answer these questions. And rightly so. God has a purpose in asking all this. With the variety and amount of questions he gives, God is ultimately saying to Job, “Do you even know who you are speaking to and how big I am? Do you even understand what you are asking?” We often look at our situations as “big” or “major” events and we don’t take the time to realize how small and insignificant they really are in the grand scheme of who God is and what he is doing.
God is so much bigger than ANYTHING we are dealing with, going through or have in our lives. Who are we to question him for allowing us to have trials and hardship?
This is not to say that our emotions and feelings are unwarranted. Of course not. However, when you are in the middle of a storm, if your eyes are fixed on the storm, you are going to sink. You have got to get your eyes off yourself and your situation to be able to see how big God is and what he is capable of doing.
J.D. Greear said he doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that Job comes right before Psalms in the Bible. The book of Psalms is a song book written to God about his glory. It’s a book with every single human emotion in written form, all directed towards God. Cries of anguish, frustration and fear. Songs of praise, glory and admiration. It’s all there. Right after the last chapters of Job where God ultimately shows Job how enormous and amazing he is, we step into the book of praise. Praise his name for his greatness. Even in the midst of the storm and the trial. God is incredible. Don’t ever forget it!
I had a friend encourage me with these words last week. We are given an example of how to pray in Matthew 6 where Jesus says, “give us this day, our daily bread.” God knows exactly what we need and will provide for those needs each and every day. There are many times in our lives that he will only give us what we need to get through that specific day so we will need to come back to him the next day and rely on him once more. God is what we need. God will give us what we need when we ask for it. But we cannot expect to only need to ask him once and be filled for life. He is our daily bread and we need to rely on him daily. Oh, but when you do, he will show up and it is amazing to watch!