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Taking Us Seriously

by | Jun 18, 2024 | Acceptance, Correction, God's Love, Respect, Trials

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon 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? Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed”?'”

(Job 38:1-11 ESV)

It sounds odd, but the one thing that strikes me most about this passage is how much God respects Job—if that’s the right way to say it. He takes Job seriously. He doesn’t brush off His complaints, or say, “Poor guy. I need to make allowances for him; he’s been through a terrible time. I’ll be kind to him.” No, God fights back, if I’m allowed to put it that way. He speaks to Job the way you speak to someone you respect who nevertheless is seriously wrong.

And the message God gives boils down to this: “You wouldn’t understand if I told you.” That’s not the message Job wants to hear, but it’s an honest one. God is God, and we are not, and there are going to be a lot of things in our lives that He can’t explain to us simply because of our limits. That doesn’t mean God doesn’t care, or doesn’t want to help us. It’s just reality.

You wouldn’t think of that as a hopeful message, would you? But Job did! God was taking him seriously in his misery. And God takes us seriously, too, in the middle of our own trouble and distress. Even when we overstep and go too far, God hears us and cares for us. He gives us what we need, even when it isn’t what we want.

And the best thing He has given us is of course Jesus—God Himself, come down into our world of misery and suffering, come to set things right. Our suffering is real, and God knows it. God shared it—all the way to the cross.

One of Jesus’ other names is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Because He is God with us, taking us seriously—reaching out to us—caring for us—healing our own broken nature with His own blood. We may lose everything in our lives and even go down into death; but Jesus goes with us all the way. He will not abandon us. He knows the way, because He has walked it before. And He knows the way back.

Jesus’ death and resurrection is our hope. He has made us part of His body, His people; and as He shares in our suffering, so we will share His resurrection and life. He keeps us going in this hope—because He loves us.

We Pray: Lord, when I suffer, be with me; and help me to hope in You. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on June 18, 2024
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. Do you think Job was surprised by God’s answer? Why or why not?
2. Does it make a difference to you to know that God has suffered? If so, how?
3. How do you lean on Jesus when things are hardest for you?