Monday, October 24, 2011

Brace yourself

Can I admit something without judgement? I've felt a little a Job-like lately. In the past few weeks I've gotten so much bad news that I'm almost not shocked by it anymore. Numb isn't the right adjective, but certainly not surprised. I feel like I am watching a storm, with thunderous pain stiking all around. I never know quite what to say, especially since "I'm sorry" seems so trite.

A few years ago we experienced a similar season in my husband's family and it got to the point where one of his cousins confessed, "I'm almost afraid to answer the phone when it rings."

I know I am no Job. I've given in to the temptation more than once to ask God why, and each time I hear Him respond the same way He did in Job 38:
1 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?

8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?

12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.