Dramatic Swings In Life
February 26, 2019
The Bible frequently refers to God as the Creator of all things with great purpose. God’s identity and power as Creator is often stated in the context of His promises. God frequently referred to His past work in creation in order to remind the children of Israel of the power He has, thereby assuring Him that He is able to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, no matter what the circumstances appear to be. If God was able to create all things out of nothing by the power of His Word, then what is to keep Him from doing the work that needs to be done to fulfill His promises? This is an important concept to understand, especially when circumstances appear to be grim. Since God is Creator, He has power and charge over all things – spiritual and eternal. He is able to do as He pleases at any time, and only needs to speak a word to fulfill His purpose. While circumstances might be overbearing for us, they are not that way for God. He is the eternally self-existing, self-sustaining Lord God Almighty!
Another important attribute that must be considered during times of trouble, is that God is eternal. This means that the nature of God’s work in creation has eternal intentions. Since God is eternal, His purposes and promises are eternal. Though God uses temporal facets of this life to do His work, it is with the purpose of achieving results that pan out in eternity. Therefore, the ways things appear in this life aren’t always representative of how things will be in the end. This is especially important to remember when circumstances are difficult. The testimony of Job shows that, while Job knew of God’s power as the Creator of all things, he forgot God’s eternal nature. Job understood that his suffering was the result of God’s supreme authority and power in some way, but didn’t quite understand God’s reason. God seemed to favor Job and expressed that favor with great prosperity, but suddenly in a day, everything changed and Job didn’t know why. While it was impossible for Job to know the dealings between God and the devil, Job’s forgetfulness about God’s eternal nature made his suffering all the more difficult and confusing.
In Job 10:8-13, the Bible shows the extent of Job’s understanding of God’s sovereign control as Creator. Job first confessed that God was the One that made and fashioned him. Though Job was brought into the world by the physical actions of his mother and father, Job recognized that God was the actual cause of his existence. God was the One that gave Job limbs and functionality. God was the One that gave Job intellect and purpose. Job even marveled at the quality of God’s creative power. He confessed that God’s work was so intricate and beautiful. When examining the way the human body works, it is true that God’s creation of the body is a marvel. How does God fit so much complexity into various frames, and then provide power and strength to think, speak, and do? Job recognized that his life was the work of God’s hands. God didn’t just passively and mindlessly form Job, but took great care with His own hands as a potter does with clay. Still, Job forgot the nature of those hands. The hands of God are eternal and create with eternal purposes. God forms people with the aim to satisfy a purpose that is primarily spiritual and eternal in nature. Therefore, the manner in which things appear in this life doesn’t always represent the full scope of the work of God’s hands.
This is why Job was confused about his current condition. He wondered why God would take such care to form any person, but then seek to destroy them. Job felt that his physical suffering was an attack against his soul. On the contrary, the physical pain that Job was suffering was actually refining his soul and proving God superior over darkness. Job knew God to be the Creator, but did not understand how God’s hands are able to use the suffering of this life to produce profit for eternal life unto His glory. Job figured that the extent of his suffering, and the suddenness in which it came, was a sign that God was suddenly an enemy. Job had a hard time trying to reconcile this in his mind. His thoughts were flawed from the outset. Job’s prosperity was not necessarily a sign of God’s favor since even the wicked prosper in seasons. Likewise, Job’s suffering was not a sign of God’s wrath since it is necessary to suffer many tribulations in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. The dramatic swing in Job’s circumstances was confusing, but confusion caused deeper anguish because Job lost perspective of God’s eternal and spiritual focus, in which the condition of the physical body is not a factor, whether it be in good shape or bad.
Confused by God’s work, Job pleaded to the Lord for mercy. Confessing the Lord to be his Maker, he asked the Lord to remember his weak frame. This is a statement of Job’s humility. Job confessed that his body was weak. Job confessed that he, of himself, was unable to change his circumstances. Job didn’t seek medical assistance or other worldly remedies. Job simply called out to the God of all creation in hopes that God would see Job’s pitiful state and show mercy. Confessing his weakness, Job hoped that God would deal with him gently, and that in His compassion, he might be able to catch a bit of relief. Job didn’t try to will himself to have strength by his inner will and conquer his own circumstances. Job did the right thing by admitting to God that he was only a lump of clay, and hoped that the Potter would bring a renewed form to his life, rather than grind him into dust. Either way, Job admitted that God had the power and control to do either. Job just hoped for a more favorable outcome.
Job hoped that his life would return to the manner that it was. Considering the prosperity and peace that Job had, who wouldn’t desire to return to that quality of life? Job appreciated the care that God took when He formed him. Job said that God poured him out like milk and let him perfectly age like curdled cheese when he was formed in the womb. Job didn’t just say that God threw him together like a rushed outfit, but took time to cloth him with skin, flesh, and join his bones together properly with ligaments and tendons. In other words, God not only made Job, but gave him functionality and purpose. Job wondered, was his purpose just to be destroyed and die miserably?
To the one that forgets God’s eternal nature, this end might seem pitiful and terrible. Why would God create someone just to destroy them with suffering like Job was suffering? This would only seem sad if we figured the total essence of God’s work in creation to be physical and material. If God were merely a potter, then the destruction of His vessels would be sad. However, God has merely fashioned vessels as containers that hold the real treasure of the human soul. The body is merely a clay pot, so that if God desires to grind it back into dust, it is only returning to the original condition from which God started His work. However, the condition of the vessel DOES NOT affect the condition of the treasure that God keeps inside! God is spiritual, eternal, and almighty. He is able to preserve the soul unto eternal life in spite of the condition of the vessel. This is the power of the hands that formed all things! This is what Job forgot, and so he longed to return to better days in this life as if that was the best that God could do.
Job recognized that at one time, God showed circumstantial favor. Job’s life was good at one point. Job’s life was favorable at one point. Job realized that God had shown care and preserved His spirit at one point. Suddenly and quickly, Job’s circumstances changed. Job admitted that only God knows why. The purpose for Job’s prosperity at the beginning was hidden in God’s heart. Only God knew why Job was prosperous at that time. The purpose for Job’s suffering later in life was also hidden in God’s heart. Only God knew the real reason for Job’s suffering at that time. God’s purposes often remain with Him, which can make things very difficult for us because we don’t think like Him. God can change things on the fly, and seemingly without cause. Still, the changes in life that God allows and enables have no bearing on our connection to Him. If our circumstances increase, it does not make us more blessed or more saved than we were before. God is not better for bringing increase because we’re enjoying life more. God is always supremely good. Conversely, if our circumstance change so that we experience suffering and pain, that also has no bearing on our connection to Him. It does not necessarily mean that God is angry with us. It does not mean that God is discarding us. It does not mean that we are rendered useless for God. God is still good. Knowing that life brings these types of confusing changes, we must try to keep in mind that the focus of God’s work is spiritual and eternal, and always resolves in goodness for His glory. We must trust that God’s promises to us are not compromised because our lives swing from one direction to another. While life changes often, God remains constant, and on task to that which He set out to do from the beginning.