It can be difficult when life doesn’t go as we think it should especially when we hit unexpected obstacles, unimagined difficulties or just plain old obstructive brick walls. I don’t know about you but sometimes I rail against God during these time. I know that’s not something I should be admitting here, but it’s the truth.
When I was a teenager, I was in a car accident and lost the sight in one of my eyes. A couple of years later, I was running a church youth group and was playing blind man’s bluff when I raced (blindfolded!) head first into a brick wall, smashing my front teeth into splinters. I can laugh about it now, but at the time, I charged into the main church shouting at God about His injustice. How could He let me lose the sight of an eye and then my front teeth? I lashed out at God wondering why He didn’t protect me from these incidents. God’s big enough to take my ranting of course, and He was also big enough to take Job’s.
Job suffered much more than blindness and tooth loss. He lost his livestock, servants, children and home and was afflicted by painful sores all over his body. He kept his faithfulness to God throughout but said to Him, ‘I cry out to you O God, but you do not answer….You turn on me ruthlessly… you attack me… toss me about in the storm… Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man… yet when I looked for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness’ (Job 31: 20-26).
Wow! Harsh words from Job but I’ve said similar to God myself over the years too. I take comfort in God’s response. ‘Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?’ (Job 38: 4). I imagine Job’s initial response would be much like my own, ‘Erm…’
God doesn’t stop there, of course, He delivers two discourses that neither explain Job’s suffering nor condemn him but, instead, state God’s sovereignty in no uncertain terms. God ends by asking, ‘Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?’ Can you imagine trying to correct God? In Isaiah (45:9) the LORD says, ‘Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker...Does the clay say to the potter, “What are you making?”’
God is the Potter and we are the clay (Jeremiah 18: 6). He moulds us according to His will. Sometimes His will doesn’t match with our own desires because His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). However difficult this is for us to accept sometimes, that knowledge also ministers to us. Imagine serving a God whose thoughts and ways were identical to our own and who was limited by our own ambitions. A God that could fit into our own understanding would be no bigger than us, would have no more power than we do and His vision for our lives would be restricted by our own narrow minds.
God is Alpha and Omega; beginning and end (Rev 22:13). He sees all of time laid out at once and His plan for His creation is perfect. Proverbs (19:21) tells us, ‘Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails’. We are ‘mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes’ (James 4:14) and even though God is mindful of us (Psalm 8: 4), He is worthy to receive glory and honour and power because He created all things. By His will they were created and have their being. (Revelations 4:11).
God’s sovereignty is to be accepted, in no small part because He is (Yahweh). In the world, this is a difficult concept; He is… what? He is Lord is the shortest answer I can give. Lord of my life and I am happy that I cannot comprehend all of His ways. Woe to us all if God could fit inside my brain!