When I was 16, I attended a winter retreat with my youth group. I went with my agenda. It was about having fun with friends. But that weekend I came home with God’s agenda tucked into my heart. A question the pastor asked one night was like getting hit by a lightning bolt jolting me into submission. Thus, began a brand new life. Everything changed for me.
Have you ever been reading Scripture and a passage or verse shakes you up a bit? Like a bolt of lightning?
Well that happened to me the other night. In fact, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.
So first let me begin by sharing what I know – a little background on the story at hand. The book is one of the oldest books of the Bible: Job. We learn that Job was a blameless and upright man who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1). He was also a husband, father of ten, business manager, owner of a large number of servants, and wealthy (Job 1:2-3).
The writer of the Book of Job tells us that “He was the greatest man among all the people of the East” (Job 1:3).
Job was a pillar of the community. If you know anyone like that, you know that he was well respected among his fellow countrymen. A man of strong faith, a loving husband, a devoted father, a generous neighbor, and a fair master. But mostly, he walked with integrity.
Integrity is probably what he was best known for.
But then came the test! You may want to read Job 1-2:10 again.
In one night, everything precious to Job was taken from him: his children, his servants, his animals, and his livelihood. The only thing left was his wife and his health.
And then his health took a huge hit. He became so sick with boils that he couldn’t even pick his head up off the pillow. He writhed in excruciating pain with every movement.
While this was a spiritual battle, the trial was real.
We have all gone through various struggles (and many of them are spiritual in nature), but I’m certain that none of us can understand the struggle Job was immersed in. The pain was deep. The torment excruciating. It was like he had survived an attack by thousands of angry bees, but did not have medication to dull the pain.
His wife and friends offered advice, but their advice hurt more than helped. No doubt, he longed to close his eyes and just die.
The struggle continued for what seemed like an eternity. And then we read: “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm” (Job 38:1). These words jumped right off the page.
I believe that God speaks the loudest and clearest in the midst of our storms.
Listen to what the Psalmist says about God’s voice:
The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
The voice of the LORD is majestic;
The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning;
The voice of the LORD shakes the desert.
Something tells me that you, like me, need to hear God’s voice today. Your storm may be so intense that you think it will never settle down. The rain keeps pounding and the wind is getting stronger and stronger. The waves are crashing against your boat with great force.
I believe that God’s favorite time to speak is right in the midst of the storm.
But here’s the thing: we need to lean in to hear the voice of the Lord. We need to listen, even if we are having a difficult time doing it. Even if we cannot see beyond our grief.
It’s a good thing that Job mastered the ability to listen to God speak even though he was battling such inner turmoil and unbelievable pain. Job finally came through the storm having learned truth along the way. Job said, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5).
We read that “The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first” (Job 42:12).
I can’t promise you that your storm will cease tomorrow, but I can promise you that God will answer you out of the storm. And hearing God’s voice may just be better than the calming of the storm.
Don’t let your difficulties shut you off from God. Ask Him to speak.
I’m opening my ears. Will you do the same and give God the tremendous opportunity to speak?