Monday, May 20, 2013

Your Questions…God’s Answer

Job had questions about his situation. His friends offered their opinions, but they fell short on the answers Job was seeking. After both Job and his friends finished talking—God showed up in a storm and said:

“I will question you, and you shall answer me” (Job 38:3).

God has a history of asking questions:
Adam was asked “Where are you?”
        Cain was asked, “Where is your brother, Abel?”
                  Moses was asked, “Is the Lord’s arm too short?”
                            Elijah was asked, “What are you doing here?”
                                         Peter was asked, “Why did you doubt?
                                              The disciples were asked, “Who do you say I am?”

What questions do you have for God? First observe His questions to see if you can come to Job’s conclusion of: 
“I know that You can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” 
(Job 42:2).

Question #1) “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2).

Answer: His Plan
God has a plan even in the most chaotic events in your life. You are most tempted to doubt His love for you during trials and tribulations. However you’re never outside of His love when bad things happen. Praying to God consistently and studying the Bible diligently gives reassurance that a loving design is being worked out for your good and His purposes.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Question #2) “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4)

Answer: His Presence
God never takes a vacation. He’s everywhere all the time. You may be tempted to believe that God has left you when desolation crowds in on your life. Just because you don’t sense His presence doesn’t mean that He’s checked out. Have faith in God. He is with you in the days of light and days of darkness.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Question #3) “Would you discredit my justice?”(Job 40:8).

Answer: His Patience
God isn’t blind to injustice. You cry out for God’s hand to intervene in response to wickedness and yet see nothing changing. You may be tempted to take matters into your own hands. However, if you step back and trust, you’ll see that God is longsuffering and demonstrates fairness in the final judgment for the righteous as well as the unrighteous.   
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Question #4) “Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his?” (Job 40:9)

Answer: His Power
God’s power is beyond human comprehension. During your most difficult days you may be tempted to forget that He is all powerful. However you must remember that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lifts you up to overcome adversity. Your God has all the power over everyone including the devil and his followers.
“Power belongs to you, God” (Psalm 62:11).

When you are suffering through a trial, draw strength from your faith in God—
His Perfect Plan for your life,
             His Comforting Presence to keep you going,
                       His Enduring Patience to sustain you, and
                                        His Absolute Power to keep you.

The New International Version. 2011. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Got Questions?

When Your Life Begins to Turn Upside Down 

Have you ever questioned God when you’ve been hit unexpectedly by heartache? Job was a righteous man who served God with all his heart. He was blessed with children, wealth, and status—but in one day he lost everything. Job asked questions without sinning against God.

Though he [God] slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).

Why did I not perish at birth? (Job 3:11)
When going through a trial, you may feel that your birth was a mistake. 
You may think that your hurtful experience would’ve been avoided if you were never born.  
Answer: "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will" (Ephesians 1:11). 

You could’ve died at birth, but by the grace of God you survived. This is your life journey—all the good and all the bad—you can make it in Christ. In this trial He is working all things for your good even though it’s difficult to bear.  

What strength do I have that I should still hope? (Job 6:11)
Even the strongest of men and women in spirit, mind, and body 
have been brought down to their knees when tribulation visits.
Answer:  Look to the Lord and his strength; seek His face always” (Psalm 105:4).

One of the first lessons to learn in every trial is that you have no strength to deal with it on your own. Call on the Lord to replenish your spirit, mind, and body so you can move forward with your life.

Why have you [God] made me a target? (Job 7:20)
Do you ever feel like there is a bull’s eye on your forehead? 
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live a “normal” life?
Answer: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" 
(2 Corinthians 12:9).

God is using your pain to prove your faith. This leads to perseverance and makes you grow up in Christ. Every time you pray, serve, meditate, love, and forgive in spite of your trial, you become stronger in your faith.  

Who can say to him [God] “what are you doing?” (Job 9:12)
Tunnel vision can happen when you’re suffering. 
It’s difficult to step back and see what God is doing in and around you.
Answer: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declared the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Although you may feel like you’re alone and drifting, God is at the helm of your boat—leading and guiding along the way. He is your compass through your dark days and worthy of your trust.

Now What?

Job’s pain began with,
“I cry out to You, God, but You do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.” (Job 30:20)

Job’s pain ended with,
“I know that You can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted”(Job 42:2).

What happened in between? 
God answered Job with His own questions.
Check out the next blog "Your Questions...God's Answer" into this awesome transformation.

The New International Version. 2011. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.