God in the Whirlwind

“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” Romans 5:3-5.

“Many of you are faced with personal crises. For some of you it may be in your family. For some of you it may be the separation of your parents or a lingering illness of someone you love. For others of you it may be a crisis in your personal life. It could be that an important relationship has been severed. Or perhaps a door has been closed on an opportunity that seemed to be the fulfillment of your dreams. Now you are not sure what lies ahead. For some of you the crisis is spiritual. You are struggling with a decision that will determine the direction of your life. Like Jacob, you are wrestling with God, and the outcome is still in doubt. Whatever your problem, I want to encourage you by saying that it can become your doorway to a new and deeper relationship with God. It is often in the crises of life that the disappointments and pain cause us to turn toward God. In times of difficulty the scales are stripped from our eyes, and we are motivated to focus our attention on Him.”

“‘Where is God?’ we often ask. The book of Job asks the same question. Job did not expect to find God close at hand when his troubles multiplied. For him prosperity signified God’s presence. Ultimately, Job had to admit that in health and prosperity he did not know God at all. It was through suffering that Job experienced God personally. Like Job, we prefer a God who follows our rules of fairness. From a human point of view it seems grossly unjust that it is not ours to know ‘why?’ But God answers us: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways … As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:8-9). Through Job’s story comes an opening in the heavens, a window for those of us who struggle with suffering. His suffering had nothing to do with his own righteousness before God. Neither was his suffering an excuse for him to forsake God’s ways. God answered Job out of the whirlwind. The Lover of Job’s soul spoke words through Job’s suffering that Job could not previously understand things too wonderful, things that he did not know. God was precisely where Job least expected to find him, and where we will find him, too”.