Today we continue the cross examination that God is laying on Job. Job has spent about 35 chapters arguing with his friends about why he, Job, a blameless and upright man, has to put up with all that has befallen him. And his friends continue to accuse him of having done something, somewhere that accounts for his misfortune.
Like Matt sad last week, God is God and we are not. That’s obvious in some ways but too often it gets overlooked and bypassed. We struggle with the lure of believing we ourselves are in the driver’s seat of our own destiny and that we are in control of everything. Not only are we in control of everything we will also make the best decisions for ourselves and everyone around us.
This week’s reading made me think of a couple of things. This is a clip from the Mother’s Day storm a couple of years ago where it rained something like 3 ½ “ in a very short time. This creekbed is on the north end of our property and in the 5 years we’ve lived there it has had any water in it just a couple of times.
There are some serious torrents of rain going through there. It was an extraordinary display of the power of water cutting a channel through a dry creekbed that is normally filled with weeds. No weeds were going to stop this particular torrent.
Not to mention a way for the thunderbolt. Now, a thunderbolt is that simultaneous flash of lighting and boom of thunder that is pretty impressive. This is from our front yard last summer. It is kind of interesting how an iPhones’ camera treats lightning. It is also a reminder of how much power is stored and released when lightning lets loose. It sort of reminded me of the time we were sitting in the enclosed patio at our house in Omaha when a literal thunderbolt hit the big elm tree in our back yard. The simultaneous flash and boom were powerful enough to take my breath away as well as any capability of logical thought.
Geologically and hydrologically I may come up with an explanation for the torrents of rain. Meteorologically and electrically speaking I kind of understand a simultaneous flash of lightning and the boom of thunder. What I have difficulty with is wrapping my mind around the actual power of God. Not just in God’s ability to make channels for torrents of rain and ways for thunderbolts but in even describing the magnitude of God.
This is something of the point God is making to Job. I envision this cross examination as up close and personal with Job. In some respects I can picture God sitting on high looking down on Job and giving him the God eye as he makes pronouncements in Morgan Freeman’s voice. But what I really think is more likely is that God is in Job’s face and poking him in the chest with the finger of God.
Why would God do that to poor Job, blameless and upright and in the middle of a ginormous tragedy? Job seems kind of down on his luck already and God is poking him in the chest? What kind of God would do such a thing?
I think it probably comes down to the idea that God wants to get Job’s attention. In spite of everything that has happened, Job doesn’t quite get it. Job doesn’t understand that God has created the universe and all that is within it. God has set in motion all the things that we can see and hear. God has forgiven our sins. God has the ability to do all of the impressive things
And yet, like Job, we struggle with paying attention to God. Job was dutiful and faithful and did all the right things. But when Job got jammed up by challenges and difficulties beyond imaginations, that’s when his questions started. When everything was going just peachy Job didn’t have any questions or worries. But when things got sideways, the “Why? Why? Why?” questions start us. When Job really needs God, Job forgets that God is right there with him.
Which is unfortunate, really. Because God is pretty impressive and pretty cool, all at the same time. God is making the point to Job as well as to us, that God will be with us through all the good times and all the difficult times. There will be both and while the difficult times are not what God desires for us, God will be around and will not leave us alone when we find ourselves there.
There will be times when things are going on that we don’t begin to understand. God is still there and we have that reminder when we see the torrents of rain and the thunderbolts. Those things are not GOD, but reminders of the power of God. It’s like when Job says in v5: “5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.” We read our Bibles and gain knowledge of God. We come to church and we hear about God. Then we go into the world and we see visible reminders of God.
Now it is our turn. Our turn to go into the world and be the visible reminder of God’s presence in the world. You know that God is always present. I know that God is always present. But there is a whole lot of the world out there that misses out on God’s ever present love. It’s up to us to be that reminder.
Reminding people there is a God powerful enough to be behind torrents of rain and behind thunderbolts. Reminding people there is a God powerful enough to love the unlovable and to forgive what we think is unforgivable.