I have read through my Bible every year for many years. As I continue to read, I am impressed with the many stories in the Bible. There are stories of great heroism, stories of great tragedies, stories of personal victories and in other cases, stories of great tragedy. Each of these stories have meaning. They are not there for my entertainment or curiosity but are put there by the Holy Spirit to teach me about life and my relationship with God. Paul tells Timothy that “all scripture is given by God…”. So, my responsibility is to listen to what God is telling me as I read these stories. Stories like David standing before Goliath who is nine feet tall. David is a  scrawny and skinny teen, yet David says to this nine-foot-tall Giant: “I’m coming to you in the name of our God and I’m going to cut your head off”. As I read that I may say to myself; that’s a bit of youthful confidence until I read a few verses later  that David is standing before the king with the giant’s head hanging beside him. How about the story of Daniel and the lions’ den? Spending a night with wild lions does not come from good mental logic; but there is a great teaching here of how God is with us, even in the political storms of life. I could mention many stories like Peter walking on water [really?] and Paul having been stoned in Lystra, gets up and returns to the city to teach.

As I read my Bible, I come to the story of Job. In my early years of Bible study, I read Job as part of God’s history and how He deals with people. However, the more I read that story, the more I see. In the story, God and Lucifer are having a conversation. That in itself becomes an incredible part of the story, God and Lucifer having a conversation? About what? God is asking Lucifer what he has been up to. Lucifer casually tells God that he has been walking to and fro on the earth, hunting for people that he can destroy. God asks Lucifer, “Have you considered Job? He is perfect and righteous man, and he honors me in all he does” [does it intimidate you to think that Lucifer may be talking to God about you?]. Amazingly, God gives Lucifer permission to attack Job and Job has nothing to say about it. So Lucifer goes to work on Job, with permission from God. Over a period of time Job loses his livestock [his wealth] his family, and eventually his health. After all this, Job sits alone in mourning, not having been a partner in the conversation. His wife says, “Why do you maintain your reverence for God? Curse Him!’ Job refuses to do that. In fact, he says, “shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”

Jobs’ friends hear of his tragedy and come to tell him why all these  problems are coming.  Basically, they tell him that he has sinned, and all this is God’s punishment.

As I read and study this book, I seek to listen to how Job is responding to all this. I get insight into the faith of this man in chapter 23. He is responding to one of his three friends, Eliphaz; “Oh that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat! I would present my case…I would fill my mouth with arguments, He would hear me, and He would answer…”. But Job does not know where to go to find God! “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there, I go backward but I cannot perceive Him; when He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him, He turns to the right, but I cannot see Him”.

Have you ever been there? Have you ever been on a search for God, but you could not find Him? I have. Many years ago, I sat on the banks of Teepee Creek up near the Canadian line. I was writing in my journal and I told God that I was searching for Him up in that beautiful spot. I ripped the pages of my journal off and stuck them to a tree and asked God to read them.

Job could not find God in the way he wanted to, but listen to him as he speaks to his friend, Eliphaz;  “But He knows the way that I take and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as pure gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His  way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food”.

There are several phrases that jump out at me as I read that passage: “He knows the way I take…”. Even though Job did not know anything about the conversation that took place between God and Lucifer, he had confidence in God. It is of comfort to me that though I do not understand all the ways of God, He knows me, and He knows what I am going through.

Not only did Job have confidence in God, but he says  “…when He has tried me, I shall come forth as pure gold…”.  That is a marvelous statement. It shows a positive faith in the midst of darkness. There will be times for all of us when we walk in darkness. We do not understand life and what is happening around us. In those times, it is a challenge to stay positive and say “when I get through all this, I’m going to be a better person”. Life has a way of teaching us or destroying us.

One of the interesting things I find in this story is that God never did share with Job the conversation He had with Lucifer. Job was seeking to understand why all this was happening, but God never sat down with Job and shared the inside of the story. In Job 38, God does come to Job, after all of this is over, and says to him, “who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” [ponder those words!] “Now gird up your loins like a man and I will ask you, and you will instruct me”! God then challenges Job to answer how he would make the world and the wild animals and control all of nature. In chapter 40, Job responds to God’s questionnaire,  “I am insignificant; what can I reply to thee? I  lay my hand on my mouth…”. In other words, “I’ll listen but not speak.”

We are indeed living in some of the most challenging times of history. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8 “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now”. If we listen, we can hear our very creation groan in its suffering and in its search for answers.

We are destined to live in this period of time, but we do not need to be a part of its groaning in searching for solutions. Though we may not have all the answers, our faith can be in an eternal God, just as the faith of Job was. We need not understand it all to have faith in Him who made it all.

I continue to read the great stories in the bible.  I seek to find myself and I seek to find and understand God. Those are eternal searches.

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