“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding.
“Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb? -- when I made the clouds its garment, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?”
And then read more...
I thought I had it covered. And I did, in one sense. Intentionally or unintentionally, I buried it somewhere deep within me. I had all but forgotten it. A serious wound—a capital “T” trauma, as one person put it. And like a proper weed, though buried deep, it persisted toward the surface, smothering all that was in its path until it broke through to the present, carrying all the pain, all the shame, and all the anger with it. My mind may have forsaken it, but my body carried it, and my soul was stifled by it. So here I find myself, in the confusion—with Job.
Job was a good guy. He was a holy man—an upright man. He was a man who suffered unspeakable loss, and in this scripture reading he is at a point in his struggle where he is questioning God. He has been receiving well intentioned, but less than helpful advice from his friends to (and I paraphrase) be more holy so God will stop punishing him. Job, in all fairness, isn’t sure how much holier he can become and is grappling with the injustice of it all.
What I hear when I read Job 38, is God handing out an overflowing bucketload of humility for all who are a party to this story: “[H]ere shall your proud waves be stopped.” I hear a call to trust: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the Earth?” I hear the God of the universe speaking to His created ones and reminding them of the order of things: “I will question you, and you shall declare to me.” I hear authority, confidence, and boundary setting: “Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb? -- when I made the clouds its garment, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther…”
I hear my own breathing slowing down in the wake of His presence. I hear the word, “Protector” beating in my chest.
When I find myself in dark places, it can be very difficult to see any light. It can be very difficult to see The Light. The horrible irony is that it is in these very places where I most need to know He is with me, to hear His voice, to feel His embrace. It seems I regularly forget that His Word calms storms. His Word is the Life that chokes out the weeds.
We don’t choose our past, we choose our present, and God has a place in all of it. In order to heal, to move into this place of complete trust He calls us to, we must make friends with all the different versions of ourselves—past selves and present selves, so we can be fully integrated with God. Whole. Holy. How else can we make friends with all the versions of ourselves if not through the one Constancy who lives in us through it all?
We praise You forever, Father! You are in everything. Your power is over all manner of evil that surrounds us—penetrates us—darkens our vision. Thank you, Lord, for being the Light, the Constancy, the Healer. Amen