This morning I read the first 13 chapters of Job. His family, home, livelihood, all wiped out in just a matter of days. As if all of that wasn’t enough, he was struck with boils. He used a shard from a broken pot to scrape the oozing sores. His wife, the love of his life, offered one bit of advice: “Curse God and die.” No wonder Job wished he was never born.
As I read I tried (in vain I must admit) to imagine what it would feel like to lose everything. I couldn’t fathom. Then, just a little bit ago I watched Dateline report on the indescribable devastation in Japan. Maybe you’ve seen footage too – towns literally wiped off the face of the earth, lives washed away in a blink of an eye. Husbands and wives now widowed, children suddenly orphaned, grandmas and grandpas buried forever beneath the wave of disaster. Homes that once provided warmth, safety, familiarity reduced to useless and splintered debris.
Disastrous scenes have become all too common, don’t you think? Haiti’s far from recovery, we barely remember the earthquake in Brazil, and now Japan. Sometimes it feels like too much. Do you ever think so?
Quite honestly, I hesitated to blog about this. What do I know? But, it’s been on my mind throughout the weekend, and I have to say, that while I don’t understand why thousands upon thousands of people have to die, I do believe deep in my being that God is present. He is right there for anyone who calls on His name. Job didn’t curse God, but instead found strength in His sovereignty.
When we reflect on life between the now and not yet we do well to remember that Jesus told us all of these kinds of things we’re going to happen more and more, and exhorts us to find hope in the fact that these catastrophic events as they intensify are precursors to His imminent return. It really helps me to cling to the truth that God is in the midst of it all…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I also find a deep, soul-felt, compelling sort of comfort in the fact that life in the now is short. The hope of the not yet remains. God wishes that none perish for all of eternity, but that all come to repentance. Sometimes it takes a catastrophe to cause us to turn to Jesus. How I pray the Spirit of God will sweep across Japan…how I pray for my Christian brothers and sisters that He’ll give them strength, and hope, and boldness in the upheaval of the now.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46)