“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth! Tell me, if you have understanding. Who set its measurements, since you know? Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38:4-7
Into the midst of Job’s anxiety – his grief, his despair, his anger – God spoke. But what is at first baffling is this: God did not answer any of Job’s questions! Not one! In fact, Job never received an answer as to “Why?” and “What happened?”
Instead, in Job 38-41, God guides Job to consider the full extent of his power, his wisdom, his creativity, and his authority as it is demonstrated in the physical creation. Before Job’s wondering eyes are displayed the vast expanses of the sea, the brilliance of the dawn, the glory of the Milky Way, and the intricate interplay of the animal kingdom.
Why would God respond in this way? Quite simply, because Job needed to have his perspective renewed. He needed to remember who God is.
Suffering causes us to turn our thoughts inward. Our perspective narrows until we see only ourselves, feel only our pain, and hear only our racing thoughts. If we want to slow our thoughts down, then it is important to turn our eyes outside of ourselves. One way to do that is to actively remember who God is.
Here are three exercises that can help:
Read through Job 38-41. Imagine that you were Job, and God spoke in this way to you. What would you think? Feel? How would you react? What would you do?
Pray a prayer using Job 38-41 as a guide. Using your own words, acknowledge specific examples of God’s power, creativity, wisdom, and authority.
Choose something natural as a reminder of God’s creative power and authority: a rock, a shell, a nut, etc. Keep the object on your desk or kitchen counter. Whenever you look at it and handle it, remind yourself, “God is the Almighty Creator. He created the whole world, including this thing. He holds all the power in the Universe. I will worship him, because he alone is God.”