Earlier in this Book of the Old Testament Job had battled with his feelings of abandonment when he said that God was letting loose of his hand and cutting him off. (Job 6:9) Now Job’s feelings of confusion and sorrow were real…as real as the loss of all his children and property. But this feeling of being cut off from the Lord was incorrect…as was his feelings of hopelessness. For there will be many times in our lives that what we pray for and expect God to take care of won’t happen. The young child will still die an untimely death…the diagnosis of cancer will still take our dear friend…and our years-long prayer for a baby will go unanswered. But that doesn’t mean that God has turned His back on us or that He has banished all hope. In the 3rd chapter of Lamentations, Jeremiah’s overwhelming sorrow and hopelessness is overshadowed by this statement, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” God is still there…still loving us…still in control. The question is, can you be ok with that?
It’s part of life here on earth…trials, illness, and loss are inevitable. Jeremiah 8:15 sums it up very well how we can feel at these times, ” We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror.” In these fearful, confusing times we long for the light at the end of the tunnel…but all we see is darkness. “He has blocked my way so I cannot pass…” In this verse, the Hebrew word for blocked is gadar – which means to build or heap up stones to make a wall. We sometimes do feel walled in or blocked off… but know God may be also protecting you from unseen evil you know nothing about. In those dark times, we need to put all our trust in the Lord and wait for the storm to pass.
Have troubles gone beyond the bounds of your human strength…put your hope in the Lord. Have all your expectations, desires, and dreams crumbled before your eyes…put your hope in the Lord. Are you in the middle of an impossible situation with no seemingly way out…put your hope in the Lord. For God can perform wonders that cannot be fathomed and miracles that cannot be counted. (Job 5:9) He is the God of the unattainable, the unsolvable, and the hopeless…for He is the God of the impossible, and nothing is too hard for Him. (Genesis 18:14)
Eliphaz was one of Job’s three friends that had come to comfort him after the devastating loss of his children and all his livestock. In this Scripture he is telling Job trouble is part of life. When everything is going along smoothly in our lives…Life is good. We’re happy, healthy, and prone to take God for granted. But when trouble hits…when we’re stricken with illness, or touched by loss…we change. We become frustrated and weary when illness strikes. We become bewildered and fearful of our lack of control during times of loss. It’s our attitude that changes…not God. For God remains the same…whether in good times or in bad. He’s right there beside you…offering comfort and hope no matter what you’re going through today.
Before there was anything…there was God. Before the world even began, God laid the groundwork…the foundation, and created everything…out of nothing. And once the foundation was laid, He placed the world in the universe. To help Job realize that God’s ways are far above man’s, the Lord asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4) But probably one of the most well-known Messianic prophecies found in Isaiah 28:16, speaks of the sure foundation of Jesus Christ. For without a firm foundation, the house will crumble…but without the sure foundation of Jesus, our life will crumble.
Time waits for no one. With each passing day, we are a little older and unfortunately, the hopes and dreams we have a little less likely to happen. When we’re young, we look at time and the future as something with limitless possibilities…but when we’re older, or disease overtakes our body…time suddenly becomes very precious. Each one of us has been allotted a certain amount of time here on the earth…time we can choose to use productively or rashly. So how are you managing your time today? Are you using it to forward God’s Kingdom…or are you aimlessly pilfering it away? Time is getting short…make the very most of it today.
I’ll admit, most of my prayers are very selfish and self-centered, and begin with “I”. But what the Lord is trying to teach us here… is that regardless of how Job viewed his own personal crisis…it was only after he had prayed for his friends that God moved. The ministry of intercessory prayer takes the I and Me out of our prayers and replaces it with our friend’s names. Intercession is so wonderfully described in Ezekiel 22:30, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap…” When you intercede for a friend in prayer, you are standing in the breach of their broken down life…a life split open by divorce, torn apart by job loss, or ripped asunder by cancer. By standing in that gap of their wall of life…you make their wall whole and complete again. When the Holy Spirit lays someone on your mind…respond immediately and pray for that person…stand in the gap of their life’s wall. For you may never know how crucial your intercessory prayer was for them at that moment.