Stunned Silence Before The Almighty

In my Bible reading this morning, the Lord used the words of Job 38-39 to chasten my pride and direct my heart towards him. I’ve long been fond of these chapters, which capture God’s epic monologue with Job at the end of this narrative. (Ghost Ship has an an incredible song based around them.) Within them, God speaks to Job, challenging Job’s defiant questioning of the almighty God.

There are too many verses to highlight them all, but here is a brief summary. God speaks to Job from the whirlwind (which I’ve always imagined as a violent tornado with flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder) and begins to ask him a series of questions. Each of these questions highlights something of God’s power and working while at the same time drawing out Job’s limitations as a finite human being.

God says to Job: Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Have you entered the storehouses of the snow? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings? Do you give the horse his might? Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?

Verse after verse, the Lord reveals his power and exposes Job’s limitations. And after more than 70 verses, God says:

Shall a fault finder contend with the Almighty ? He who argues with God, let him answer it.

And with those words, my pride was cut down. The last few weeks have not been easy for me or my family. Adoption struggles. Health struggles. Busyness. Stress. When life gets chaotic my gaze turns inward and my thoughts run to self.

Predictably, my mind thinks: Why turn to God? He doesn’t care. If he did, none of this would have happened in the first place. And instead of turning to God and trusting in him during these moments, I question. I doubt his goodness. I flee.

But reading these words, my pride was cut down. “Where were you?

Because the answer, of course, is obvious: I was nowhere. But God, the living God, I AM was. He was there. He knows the end from the beginning. And more than this, he sees. He knows. And he cares.

Just like Job I was the fault finder, but I had not paid nearly as high a price. Yes life has not been easy, but in comparison my troubles are so small. As I sat there reading these words, at first I could neither move nor speak. Not from the whirlwind, but from the pages of his Word, God spoke to me. He reminded me of his lovingkindness–his faithful love that never fails. And instead of condemnation, he offered me assurance and hope.

God has not forgotten me. I was just too focused to see things clearly. I was focused on the wrong things, the things stoked by pride that blind our eyes and darken our hearts. But this morning, God used an unexpected detour in my Bible reading to remind me of these things.

Maybe you needed to be reminded too. God has not forgotten you.

Pride is endemic to human nature. We are all idolaters, and our first temptation in moments of struggle is to run and doubt and hide. Maybe God can use these words to draw you out of the shadows, to cause you to look to him and remember. He knows and sees and cares.

And maybe today he is saying, “Where were you?