Today, we continue with Job. Job’s heart is bruised, and at last, we are at the portion of the book, where God answers Job. God puts job under the microscope and shows him how little he knows. In four chapters, Job 38-41, God overwhelms Job with his greatness, his vastness of knowledge, and shows Job how little he really is. Standing on the edge of the crater of Mt. Baker back in the 70’s when the volcano was active was literally a once in a lifetime experience – the sulfer lake, the steam pounding out of the vents. I cannot imagine the devastation in this nation of the twisters, the carnage, the devastation, the hundreds of deaths…it’s too much.
Elihu, the youngest and wisest of Job’s counselors makes a provocative statement: How great is God – beyond our understanding. (Job 36:25). The Almighty is beyond reach… and until you accept that reality of who we are compared to God, you will not find healing from your bruised heart. Until you have that sense of smallness compared to the largeness of God, like you are standing under a microscope. There is healing in enlarging your vision of God because there is truth in it.
The solution for a bruised heart is peace. Acceptance. We tend to think the solution is to make the situation better. A bruised heart, however, is NOT defined by the condition of our life, it is defined by the level of confusion and chaos in our mind. If you can find the peace of God, a measure of contentment, your life situation becomes secondary. Job’s God had become too small. He was confused because he thought he needed to understand, Job thought he needed to know more than God. Healing comes when you accept that God is in control…to be amazed by God and his greatness.
Job 37:1-2, At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice… to stand in awe of the glorious and greatness of God. The amazing snowflake in mentioned in Job 37:6… in chapter 37, the sun, the clouds, the wind… we have no answers which is both a curse and the answer in itself
Elihu says in Job 37:14, “Listen to this Job [Carl…] stop and consider God’s wonders…” The art of contemplation, the discipline of being…to accept the greatness of God is the beginning of healing, wh oleness, that God is beyond anything we can comphrehend. The Psalmist says it very succinctly, Be Still and know that I am God…(Ps. 46:10).
The story of Job is the story of a wounded heart, a bruised heart. Everything blessing Job had on this earth was taken away in a moment, a series of tragedies, his possessions, his family, even his health. Job was crushed. The bulk of the book is an attempt to find reconciliation with the disaster of his life. His wife tells him to curse God and die. His friends tell him it is his own fault, he is a sinner, and they try to tell him to cheer up and be glad it isn’t worse. Hollow answers are prevalent and unhelpful. A process of grief is necessary in order to find a place of peace. Why did this happen? Why me? What did I do wrong?
Healing is to find peace and contentment. God does not promise us a pain free life. Healing begins when we start to ask God to change our attitude... Job thought he knew everything and could not understand why God allowed him to suffer. Job’s God is too small. God says to Job: there is much you do not understand and never will.
Some thoughts on finding peace when your heart is bruised:
Accept the fact that there is much you do not understand…God’s ways are not our ways. Is. 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, “declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways and my thought than your thoughts.” “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation…” (Job 38:4) God asks in the first of seventy seven unanswerable questions. Job is overwhelmed…
"Do you know where light comes from?” God asks in Job 38:19. I don’t really want to get into a lengthy discussion about Science vs. Religion. I know there are probably a hundred people in this room that know more than me, but it seems to me that the biggest problem in science is when as a discipline science goes too far and thinks ultimate questions can be answered. Science masquerades as a way to find answers. Science doesn’t answer, it only observes and finds patterns. Science can observe the conditions for a seed to sprout, but go further back as to how a seed sprouts and you are into the realm of God, a seed is amazing. Nobody can truly understand.
Peace begins when we accept the fact that there will always be that which we do not know. Let some of the painful questions go that created the bruised heart and leave the answers in God’s hands.
Be willing to laugh at yourself… tell me the tone of God’s storm of words to Job? God intends to overwhelm Job with questions beyond his realm of knowledge. And he does it with a measure of poking fun at Job. Healing comes when you can laugh at yourself. I am convinced that Job 38:2 is God’s idea of a joke, a serious thought undoubtedly, but he is chiding Job. Job 38:21 has to make you smile.
Once in a while, Forest gets this idea that it would be really cool to spend time bonding with his father by playing video games. I tell him how bad I am…I finally give in…so Forest hands me the controls, sets the game up, and we play. For about five minutes Forest gets to laugh at his father’s incompetence. Then for about five minutes Forest gets tired of laughing at his father, so he humors his father and tries to tell his father he isn’t that bad. Then Forest spends five minutes hinting to his father that maybe it’s ok if we don’t play videogames. Me trying to play videogames with somebody who knows what they are doing is a small measure of how Job must have felt when God told him to brace himself like a man and answer his questions.
One way to enlarge your vision of God, is to shrink yourself down to size. To stand on the edge of a glacier is an amazing experience, to look up from the bottom end of a crevasse, to understand how vulnerable and small we really are. To laugh at yourself. Yesterday an man told me about an assembly he never forget years ago when he was in high school. A vet with no legs wheeled himself in front of the students and said, “I’m the happiest person in this room, I know my limits [as he pointed to his lack of legs] and all of you are still trying to figure yours out.” Laugh at yourself, it’s the beginning of healing. One way to look at Job 38-41 is God saying to Job: you are taking yourself way too seriously.
Be amazed by God… Find something you don’t know, and be amazed. We spend our lives trying to master the world around us, to control our own destiny… take a step back from that self-centered, and make it a goal simply to be amazed. Elihu says in Job 37:14, “Listen to this Job [Carl…] stop and consider God’s wonders…” The art of contemplation, the discipline of being…to accept the greatness of God is the beginning of healing, wholeness, that God is beyond anything we can comphrehend. The Psalmist says it very succinctly, Be Still and know that I am God…(Ps. 46:10).
In Job 40:15 is a description of Behoumeth. Nobody knows what creature God is referring to. My footnotes say possibly a hippo or an elephant. Chapter 41 is all about leviathan. My footnotes say possibly leviathan is a crocodile. In preparation for this message I read one paper where the guy was absolutely incredulous that anybody could think God was talking about hippo’s and crocs…he knew the absolute answer. Clearly this is a description of dinosaurs! For me, I am just going to leave them as mystery animals, because that is in keeping with the spirit of this scripture in which we are not called to know everything, some things are beyond us, to be amazed is the point, to wonder, to enlarge our vision of God. Listen to these verses… God takes the need to be amazed one step further….
Job 38:15-18. When you get done with being overwhelmed by the foundations of the world, think about death. I often stand on the edge of a grave, and I think I am right when I say that a grave/cemetary is perhaps the most holy place on the face of earth, for it is in the face of death when we need God the most and can understand the least. Death is when we need to know that God knows. Death is when we need the biggest God possible, his amazing ways, to make up our lack of control and smallness.
Our God is an awesome God, he reigns in heaven above…
The healing of a bruised heart comes not when your fortunes are changed and your life is blessed once again. Healing is to find peace. The peace of God. You find peace when you accept the fact that there is much in this old world you do not understand. Be willing to laugh at yourself, for that puts yourself into perspective and how small we really are. And be amazed by God. Even if we do not understand his ways, to know that his ways are far above our ways is everything we need to know. When your heart is bruised, may you find the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.