Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you want to move from hearing about God to seeing God … deeply? Job heard about God. He had head knowledge. But something was lacking. Through suffering and fervently praying, Job waited upon God to speak. After deafening silence, God spoke. Job moved from hearing about God to seeing God … deeply.
Hearing About God
More than 6 decades ago, an elementary school girl heard about God and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Throughout her school years, she prayed and studied the Bible. She was a sickly girl, and when she was 19 and in the hospital, her pastor visited her and quoted Isaiah 40:31. It became her life verse.
“But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Decades later, she endured 15 years of extreme pain, depression, and brain fog. She asked God what He was teaching her, and she waited on God to answer. She poured over the Bible and read many books. Some of the feedback was that she had sinned and needed to confess her sin. She asked God to reveal her sin. The Holy Spirit showed her some of her sins, and she confessed them. No answer from God.
Other feedback was that she lacked faith to be healed. She told God that she knew that He could heal her. She trusted God to heal her. No healing.
At one point in her extreme pain, a friend came and sat with her in silence. Her story reminds me of Job’s story.
The Bible tells us that Job was a blameless and righteous man who feared God and shunned evil. God blessed him abundantly. He had seven sons and three daughters. He had thousands of sheep and camels and hundreds of oxen and donkeys.
One day, the members of the heavenly court presented themselves to God. Satan came with them. Satan told God that Job was serving God because God was making him prosper. God told him that he could take Job’s possessions.
It all began. Job lost his wealth, some of his servants, and all his children.
Job tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell to the ground and worshiped.
And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.Job 1:21-22
“Skin for skin,” Satan told God. God gave Satan permission to touch Job’s body. Then Satan struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head.
His wife saw his misery and told him to curse God and die. But he didn’t.
Loss of wealth. Loss of family. Loss of health. Loss of hope. Death wishes from your beloved.
Have you been there, my friend? There is hope.
When Job’s friends heard of his losses, they traveled to his house to comfort Job. They didn’t recognize him when they saw him, he was so sick. They sat on the ground with him in silence for seven days and nights. His suffering was too great for words.
True friends. Sometimes, comfort comes when true friends silently sit with us, cry with us, and just be present for us. Have you been a friend like that? That’s what fellow believers are for, to support each other, encourage each other, to do life together. That’s the unity of the church lived out.
After seven days and nights of silence, Job speaks, cursing the day he was born and asking “WHY?”
For 27 chapters, Job and his three friends banter back and forth. His friends tell him that he must have some sin that is the cause of his suffering. Job retorts back that he is righteous and hasn’t sinned.
In those days, the people thought that God blessed the righteous with prosperity and family. Job’s friends asked him to examine himself for any secret sins and repent.
How long? Will You not look away from me, And let me alone till I swallow my saliva? Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, So that I am a burden to myself?”Job 7:19-20
Our suffering can cause us to turn to God more fervently.
Job proclaims the power and sovereignty of God.
For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (emphasis added)Job 19:25-27
Seeing God. We don’t know when Job lived, but he knew that His Redeemer lives. He heard about God and lived to please God. He wanted to see God.
Like Job, I hope that you know that your Redeemer lives. But do you see your journey through this life, through suffering, from God’s perspective?
In chapter 32 of Job, Elihu, a fourth friend speaks for the first time. He says that the three friends AND Job are wrong about God. Elihu accuses Job of pride and then declares the might and power and majesty of God and His creation.
Through all of this, God is silent. God’s deafening silence. Have you been there? Are you there now?
God’s silence sometimes comes before He gives us a deeper revelation of Himself. God lets us know what He is doing in our lives when and if we need to know.
In chapter 38, God Speaks!
God answered Job out of the whirlwind asking Job, “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer Me.” Job 38:2-3
God challenges Job with question after question—74 questions. Questions like, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Where does light come from and where does darkness go? Who directs the movement of the stars? God reminds Job that “Everything under heaven is mine.”
God answers fervent prayer. – In His timing.
Chapter 42 changes everything.
God has spoken and Job now has God’s perspective. The answer to Job’s question of “WHY?” is no longer important.
Then Job answered the LORD and said: “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.“Job 42:1-2
Job acknowledges that God is all-powerful. He has confidence that all that God has purposed and thought concerning Job and the world will be accomplished.
Ephesians 2:10 tells us “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
God’s perspective is that we are His workmanship. The word for workmanship is poiēma, poem, or masterpiece. And we are prepared for good works that God has prepared for us to accomplish. Job was God’s masterpiece and He had good works to do. But his suffering has been a time of waiting … digging deeply for God.
You are God’s masterpiece, and He has good works for you to do. Do you know what they are?
You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I [Job] have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You [God] said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.Job 42:3-5
Job repeats what the Great I AM’s questions were. Job admits that he didn’t understand God’s perspective and spoke of things he didn’t understand. Have you been there?
- “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.
You’ve heard about God. You’ve studied about God and His attributes. You have heard knowledge. But do you see God … deeply?
When we experience God, we see His perspective.
When we see ourselves from God’s perspective, how do we respond? This is how Job responded:
- 6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”
Job has experienced God and sees God’s holiness and his depravity. He repents.
When we see the holiness of God and what He is showing us, our suffering fades away. Like Isaiah when he saw the Lord high and lifted up and the train of God’s robe filling the temple and the seraphim crying “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”, (Isaiah 6:3) we cry out like Isaiah,
“Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of Hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)
God’s perspective. NOW Isaiah was ready for God’s invitation.
God asked “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?”
Isaiah cried out, “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
God invites Isaiah. God invites you and me. God invites Job to join Him in restoring Job’s three friends.
And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD commanded them; for the LORD had accepted Job.Job 42:7-9
Note, that Job prayed for his friends WHILE he was still suffering. From God’s perspective, Job had a ministry in his suffering. God’s purpose for Job at that time.
Are you suffering? Perhaps God has a ministry for you in your suffering. Or maybe this is a time for waiting on God.
And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.Job 42:10
God never told Job why he had suffered. When God spoke to Job and revealed Himself in a deeper way, Job humbled himself, he repented of his prideful perspective, and his life was changed forever.
God spoke. Job repented. God spoke to his friends, they offered a burnt offering, and Job prayed for them.
THEN, God restored Job’s health and wealth. He gave Job twice as much as before. His family was blessed. Evidently, his relationship with his wife was restored because he had 7 more sons and 3 more daughters. But he still had loss. He had lost his first 10 children.
Job’s perspective of his suffering caused Job to question why he was born and why he was suffering. It caused him to cry out to God. It caused him to ask why he was still living. It caused him to ask God to speak to him.
Job’s suffering was an example to you and me, recorded for eternity in God’s love letter, the Bible.
From Hearing About God to Seeing God
In her pain and suffering, the woman I talked about earlier continued to study God’s Word with her husband. At one point, God impressed upon them that He would heal her. Their prayers changed to thanking God for the coming healing. Two more years went by. Worse, she told God that she thought they misunderstood His promise of healing and that she was ready to resign her job and have a prayer ministry from her bed of pain.
One Sunday, she and her husband attended a healing service.
During the worship, she prayed, “I don’t care about the healing anymore, God, I just want more of You!”
Later that evening, there was a call to those in pain. Her husband grabbed her arm and marched her forward. That evening, God gave her more of Him AND healing, confirmed a miracle by her doctor.
That woman was me. My entire life changed. My co-workers and family marveled. My doctor wrote me a letter that God’s healing was an answer to prayer and that I should not let my work consume me but that I should let the Lord consume me. God gave me a ministry through my blog (reaching others around the world) and much more. Next Tuesday is the 13th anniversary of God’s healing of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. You might say it’s this 73-year-old’s 13th birthday next Tuesday.
Job’s suffering caused him to turn to God like he had never turned to God before. My suffering caused me to get up in the middle of the night when the pain was so bad that I couldn’t sleep. Many nights I read the Psalms on the couch. It’s interesting how in many Psalms, David cries out to God asking “How long?” or “Why?” or “Where are YOU?” but then refocuses to God’s majesty and power and ends in praise.
Those nights of pain were some of the sweetest. God wrapped me in His loving arms and let me know He was near. Yes, I was still in pain, but it didn’t matter while I was focused on God.
Job’s suffering was overwhelming. His suffering included loss of children, loss of finances, loss of support from his friends and wife, loss of health, and loss of hope.
When Job focused on who God was and not his suffering, Job repented. He understood God’s perspective and was invited to minister to his friends by praying for them. His friends saw Job’s agony AND his healing and understood God’s perspective. His wife, family, and other friends also understood more about God.
If you are suffering and would like prayer, I would be honored to pray with you. Leave your prayer request in the comments below.
May you wait on the LORD, and may your strength be renewed; May you mount up with wings like an eagle, and run and not be weary; May you walk and not faint.
Below is a meditation I gave on this Scripture today.