A few weeks ago Ed and I had the opportunity to spend a week at a lovely cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. No cell service, no cable or wifi just us, nature and a sweet cabin. As you can imagine, it was awesome! While there I happened upon a National Geographic magazine from several years ago that had pictures from a recent hubble excursion. Here I was in an area rich with the beauty of God’s handiwork in trees and mountain, rivers and wildlife and I’m holding in my hand pictures of some of the most glorious things I’ve ever seen, God’s galaxies. To say I was humbled would be an understatement. I was in awe. Like most Americans, I’ve seen pictures of the planets and galaxies before but never had the impact reach me like that of how amazingly they represent our Heavenly Father.
During that week in the mountains Ed and I really experienced and felt God’s presence and it was one of the best trips we’ve ever had. But like everything in this life, that part of our journey came to an end and we headed back to “real life”. Very quickly the pressures and frustration of our current circumstances bounded back into our minds and onto our shoulders and the questions began again. “God what are You up to?” “Why is nothing seeming to change?” “Have we missed something You’ve said?” “What’s going on?” You get the idea!
Fortunately for us, God had led us to an amazing pastor and author who we began to watch his sermon videos, J.D. Greear. I was first introduced to J.D. through a daily devotional through my subscription to Faith Gateway (I’ll have more info. for you in the Resource Section below). It was a number of months ago and God really used that word to comfort Ed & I, so I purchased his book, Jesus Con’t. Recently we also began to listen to his teachings and in one of the sermons we were watching that was inspired by this book J.D. addressed the reaction we humans have to circumstances and situations God takes us through that to us are unfair, excruciating, devastating or unimaginable. He talks about a number of things but one topic took me right back to those photos of the galaxies and changed the very way I was looking at my circumstances and most importantly God. J.D. brought up Job (gulp!) and the wretched things that happened to him because God knew that no matter what satan came at him with, Job would not turn his back on God. But that did not mean Job did not question what the heck was going on (remember Job wasn’t privy to the heavenly conversations between satan and Job’s Heavenly Father).
After 37 chapters of calamity of cataclysmic proportions and questions that we would feel Job had every right to ask, God shows up. Interestingly enough though, God isn’t all “Way to go Job! I knew you could do it! I knew you’d show that pain in our rear devil what he could do with his boasting!” No, that’s not what He says to Job. In fact, with the wrong perspective, we think what God says seems very inappropriate for someone who trusted God with his life and everything that he had. We could also erroneously think what God said was very arrogant. I’m going to give you an excerpt from that conversation and Job’s response:
God: Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Job: 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. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You 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. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.
Job 38:4-7; Job 42:1-6
I gave you a couple of versus but God goes on for several chapters before Job can get a word in edgewise. Before my awestruck encounter with those photos from the Hubble I would have (and probably did in the past when I read those verses) thought that God just didn’t seem to be very nice to a man who just suffered the most of anyone we’ve seen in the Bible. We know the rest of the story, that God gives back to Job double and more but at this point Job doesn’t know that. But having my spiritual lens changed from our trip to the mountains and the opportunity to see afresh the majesty of God in His creation that is more amazing as you see the majesty of His galaxies, I actually began to be comforted by God’s words to Job. I began to truly see that His question to Job of , “Where were you? Where were you when I created all of this and planned for all of this and thought about you and every single other living person and creature? Last I remember, you weren’t there.”, is a reminder to Job and to us that He is so much bigger than we allow Him to be in our lives. His thoughts are so much more powerful and creative and majestic than we, as mere human creatures, can at this stage of our journey ever understand. God’s comfort began to overtake me and like Job, I understood that I have uttered what I did not understand, things to wonderful for me.
I don’t think it’s possible for us to, in this earthly body, grasp why we go through the things we go through. Loss, death, evil, waiting, change in direction, change in circumstances…all of it. It is too much for us, but for our Heavenly Father, the creator of galaxies beyond what humans can see or understand, it is all within His purview. AND we can with confidence step back from our doubts and anxiety and confusion and know that while we weren’t there when God created everything that has been created, He was and nothing is a surprise to Him. Despite the fact we turned control over to His enemy to corrupt what He in perfection created, that He, when He is our Lord and Savior, makes all wrong right!!
I encourage you to visit the link I’m providing of the space pictures of the galaxies. View it with fresh eyes and marvel at your Heavenly Father, whose daughter you are. He who created all things, and didn’t even spare His own Son but gave Him freely for you, what good thing will He withhold from you (Romans 8:32)? As Paul goes on to say, Nothing. So it comes down to trust. Trusting He is wholly good, wholly loving and He says that He is, and He says He is not a man that He can lie (Numbers 23:19). Re-read those verses from Job, maybe read the whole book of Job and then pay special attention Job chapters 38 – 41 when God is talking and chapter 42 when Job’s perspective changes. You can trust Him, you can put your situation into His hands and know regardless of how each day of the journey goes, God’s got this. We may never completely understand in this life, but the God who created the beauties of this earth and the majesties of the galaxies does and He is intricately working all these things for your and for my good.
A Daughter’s Prayer: Abba the joy in my heart cannot be described when I look through my human eyes at the glory of your majesty. I am so thankful that You are so much greater than I have believed You are. Like Job I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not and do not know. And I am ok with that and may each time I question you, and I am sure that I will, remind me again of Your glory and Your majesty and then show me again how much You love me and that nothing happens that You are not using for my good and the good of those I love. Help me see with new eyes and hear with new ears, anchored in a new perspective that I am not even worthy but out of your immeasurable loving kindness, because of Jesus, I am worthy and I AM my Father’s Daughter. Amen!
- HubbleSite – How people cannot believe in God after seeing this, I do not know, but these pictures are absolutely incredible!! http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/
- FaithGateway – I signed up to get their daily devotional emails. Through this I have read some of the best Christian content I have ever experienced. Now not every day and every devotional does that for me, but I would say 80% or more they speak something to me that I really need right then. If you’re interested here’s how you can sign up. http://www.faithgateway.com/
- J.D. Greear – If you enjoy reading I would highly recommend J.D.’s book Jesus Con’t. but even outside of that his sermons are life changing and point you to the One who is the one who transforms us. http://www.summitrdu.com/messages/ Also, if you need an absolutely amazing teaching on patience, guest speaker Bryan Loritts has a fantastic one that he gave during the month of July: Bryan Loritts – Patience
- PodBay – I first started listening to J.D. on this app on my phone as well as several other speakers. It covers many genres but the good news is it has a lot of Christian speakers, so you may want to download this free app if you’d rather listen than watch: PodBay for Android PodBay for iPhone