Job 40 is the ending of God's first speech begun in Job 38. He ends it just the way he started: with a questioning rebuke and challenge:
“Now what do you have to say for yourself?
Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One,
into court and press charges?”"
(Job 40:2, The Message)
Woah! Job answers:
"I've talked way too much, way too much.
I'm ready to shut up and listen."
(Job 40:5, The Message)
So God continues with a second set of questions that, like the first speech, includes a challenge (40:6-7) and a rebuke (40:8-14), and questions about nature (50:15-41:43). This speech does not end with a closing rebuke. Through this, God shows Job that he is a limited human being with many frailties, and Job could not judge the God who created everything or the right to ask why. Again, God drives home the point: He is God and Job is not.
God does allow us to ask, "Why is this happening to me?" But He would prefer we eventually get to the "What are you trying to teach me through this?" In our struggles we often do not give God time to reveal His larger purposes. We are so quick to complain, and He endures it patiently because He is a loving God, but He desires for us to grow and sometimes to just "Shut up and listen" like Job finally learned to do.
Recently, my husband and I were privileged to Skype with a person who became a follower of Jesus two years ago in a closed country with many hardships. It is also dangerous to be a follower of Jesus there. He said:
Jesus said He would change my life, and He really did! I go through lots of ups and down. Now I see things so differently. Before when bad things happened, I would say, “Why, why, why did this happen? Why am I not lucky like others. Now, I know God does not throw our suffering away. He molds and remakes it. When painful things happen, I know that God is taking care of me. My life is fantastic. I am full of His joy.
Can you respond like this man?
Set aside time in prayer right now to just listen to God. Remember this wonderful book that can facilitate that process:
It is a book I think every believer needs to read!
Lord, allow this man to continue to respond in joy. Make him salt and light among his people. Help us to respond in joy to all of life’s circumstances. Speak Lord, we are listening. Amen.