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“A Word for this Week” - Pastor Bill Mugnolo
Week of August 10-16, 2020: “Where Are You? ‘Where Were You …”
Job 38:4, 18.
“Where are you, God, where are you?” Haven’t we asked that during our own times of suffering? If anyone ever had reason to ask that question it was the Old Testament saint that we know of as Job.
While Job was richly blessed by God, Satan challenged God to remove all of Job’s blessings in the hope that Job would then curse the Lord. While Satan had to spare Job’s life, he, nonetheless, took Job’s possessions, his servants, his children, and his health. Job, in his misery, ended up cursing the very day he had been born (Job 3:1-3).
Amidst his friends, Job would commiserate over his fate. While seeing that God may well have had a greater purpose in allowing his suffering, Job was also living out that phrase, “Where are you, God, where are you?” Finally, in Job 38, God answers Job and challenges him as to if he (Job) knew better than Him, the Lord. “Where were you”, God said, “When I laid the foundation of the earth? … Tell me if you have understanding.” “Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this” (Job 38:4, 18).
Realizing, at last, that God’s understanding was so much greater than his own, Job repents in “dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). Job’s suffering then ends as he is blessed once againtwice over what he had known before. One hundred-forty years later, Job dies, “an old man and full of days” (Job 42:17).
From Job’s own suffering we learn that we, on account of sin, will know of suffering while here on earth. Still, the reason why we might suffer in a particular way may well be “hidden”known to God alone (Isaiah 55:8-9). But, like Job, both the intensity and duration of our suffering will be limited (1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Peter 5:10) and, in the end, we will be blessedespecially as we are led to grow closer to God, becoming more like Jesus in His suffering for us.
“Where are you, God, where are you?” More than even Job, Jesus knew what it was like to suffer as He tasted death for us all (Hebrews 2:9). As our Redeemer who truly lives (Job 19:25), He will bring us through all our times of suffering until we are brought into the unending joy of eternal life.
Replace today's negative thoughts with God's eternal truths, guided by the following list passed down to us from an unknown source. This is especially important in dealing with the Coronavirus and all the bad news we are hearing. Keep God's Word close at hand to combat the negative thoughts.
The world says: "Its impossible." God says: "All things are possible." (Luke 18:27)
The world says "I'm too tired." God says: "I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28-30)
The world says: "Nobody really loves me." God says: "I love you." (John 3:16, 34)
The world says: "I can't go on." God says: "My grace is sufficient." (2 Corinthians 12:9; Psalm 91:15)
The world says: "I can't figure things out." God says: "I will direct your steps." (Proverbs 3:5- 6)
The world says: "I can't do it." God says: "You can do all things." (Philippians 4:13)
The world says: "I'm not able." God says: "I am able." (2 Corinthians 9:8)
The world says: "It's not worth it." God says: "It will be worth it." (Roman 8:28)
The world says: "I can't forgive myself." God says: "I forgive you." (1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1)
The world says: "I can't manage." God says: "I will supply all your needs." (Philippians 4:19)
The world says: "I'm afraid." God says: "I have not given you a spirit of fear." (2 Timothy 1:7)
The world says: "I'm always worried and frustrated." God says: "Cast all your cares on Me." (1 Peter 5:7)
The world says: "I'm not smart enough." God says: "I give you wisdom." (1 Corinthians 1:30)
The world says: "I feel all alone." God says: "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)