“[Job said,] ‘Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me’ ” (Job 31:35).
Have you ever traveled in a country where the culture was noticeably different than yours? You probably felt clueless at times. Shake hands or bow? Shoes on or off when you enter a house? Shake your head for yes or no? Clean your plate or leave some food uneaten? Even once you figure out what is expected of you, it can still feel weird, or even wrong, to comply.
At first, the Old Testament believer Job praised God in spite of his suffering. But when that suffering dragged on, Job realized God’s ways were strange. He couldn’t make sense of why God let him lose his wealth, his children, and then his health and not explain why. Job eventually demanded an answer from God. He said, “I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me.”
What kind of defense could he offer to God? The Almighty could have reacted in anger for Job’s false assumptions and for questioning his divine wisdom. But instead of anger, God offered something different—a cross. Thousands of years later, on a hill outside of Jerusalem, God’s answer was beyond anything Job could imagine. On that cross God manifested his love and forgiveness for arrogant sinners like Job—and like us.
No, we don’t always understand God’s ways. Trying to see God’s purpose through the events in our lives can be like trying to peer at the sky through an opaque umbrella. Nevertheless, God promises that, clear or not, his ways are always for our eternal good.
Picture this video posted to social media. Rosa is a loyal cleaning lady who has fallen on hard times during the pandemic. She’s been furloughed from one job. She’s moved in with her sister. In the video, Rosa is dressed in cleaning clothes. She carries a bucket and rags. She’s in an elevator, on her way to clean the penthouse suite. Weariness is written on her face, in her posture. But the video makes something clear to viewers that Rosa doesn’t know: That penthouse suite is about to become her new home. The tenants have pitched in to pay for a two-year lease for Rosa, and she is about to receive the key! As a viewer in the know, now you think, “Just wait and see, Rosa! Something good is coming!” You feel like cheering as you watch Rosa’s expression change from resignation and weariness to shocked joy.
As the angels watched Job struggle and heard his complaints against God, maybe they felt a similar anticipation. They got to look over God’s shoulder and see Job’s trials replaced by blessings, not just a reversal of trouble here but much more.
They see us too. As they watch us struggle to understand God’s ways, maybe they cheer, “Just wait and see, Christian! Something good is coming!” Indeed, God has great plans for us—plans to prosper us. He may not multiply our savings or give us a penthouse suite, but we know that, thanks to Jesus, we have something better: the key to our home in heaven.
So relax under the umbrella of God’s wisdom. You might not be able to see through God’s wisdom, but you know that, just like an umbrella, it’s designed to shelter you in sunny times and stormy times . . . until God brings you to eternal glory.
Author: Daniel J. Habben
Volume 108, Number 10
Issue: October 2021
- The umbrella of God’s wisdom - 2021/09/23
- Overwhelmed but not overcome - 2021/08/28
- Money talks! - 2021/07/26