“Pay attention to this, Job. Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God!”
This passage encourages me to ask God for His miraculous intervention! What a God we serve! Creator of the Universe! Molder of the everything from the Rocky Mountains to the pebble I skip in the lake! Designer of the intricacies of the human body as well as an amoeba!
This dove-tails right into what Jesus said about having mustard seed-sized faith and moving those mountains and asking for “whatever you will and it shall be done”—that suits me just fine, thank you!
Then I realize this passage comes from the book of Job…which gives me pause. More like slamming on the brake…
If anyone had reason to ask for miraculous intervention, it was Job. By the time this verse shows up in the narrative, we find our ragged hero drowning in disappointment and sitting on an ash heap with pus leaking from his multiple skin sores. All of his children and most of his servants have been killed in various assaults, his wealth has been stripped from him, his wife has been less than encouraging, and now his erstwhile friends have showed up to accuse him of being guilty before God for who-knows-what.
It hasn’t been a good week.
I’m all about asking God for miracles; He knows more than anyone how badly we need them down here. However, God is more concerned with intervening in my character than with intervening in my situation. If the trial will benefit my intimacy with Him more than the miracle, He’ll choose the trial every time.
Which sounds pretty scary at first, but then God also says this in the book of Job:
“I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
Here your proud waves must stop!’”
No matter what the circumstance, my Father is still in control. His plan for my character and my relationship with Him supersedes my immediate comfort, (and not just physical, but emotional, mental, and spiritual as well.)
Even the secular segment gets the idea that sadness has a crucial place in our proper development:
Of course, I have choices to make in how I process these difficult times—regardless of what’s happening around me, I have decisions about what is happening within me. And as a Christian, God says I have internal resources not otherwise available.
Part of that processing has to do with interpretation; that is, how I “see” my circumstances. It’s very, very tempting to fall prey to thoughts such as:
God doesn’t love me like He loves others.
“For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].”
Or, God’s going to do what He wants anyway, so why bother praying?
“Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];”
Then there’s the age-old: God must not exist.
“For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”
The bottom line is the historical reality of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ—when nothing else makes sense, that does. The splintered, bloodied pieces of wood and the splendidly empty tomb mean there’s more going on behind the scenes that I’m not privy to…yet. To think otherwise means my arrogance is peeking through, something God addressed with Job in no uncertain terms.
So where does miraculous intervention fit in to all this? Jesus’ template of “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” is a good start, but I don’t think He meant for it to be a spiritually lazy default. I like His disciples initial request: “teach us to pray.”
Which is becoming an ongoing request for me: “Holy Spirit, teach me what to pray specifically, give me grace to pray persistently in the face of disappointment, and help me to engage the power of Heaven for the building of Your kingdom in this circumstance.”
Interestingly, I suspect that’s when something quietly miraculous begins to happen…
Job 37:14; Job 38:11 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.