Do you have any phobias? If not, I found a list of phobias that you could choose from:
- Carnophobia = fear of meat (I have the fear of not eating meat)
- Chorophobia = fear of dancing (some of you should fear this, too)
- Ideophobia = fear of ideas (tend to become politicians)
- Pogonophobia = fear of beards (seems reasonable)
- Ecclesiophobia = fear of church (maybe you once had this fear)
- Glossophobia = fear of public speaking
Public speaking consistently ranks in the top three most common fears. People are afraid of standing in front of groups large or small and speaking.
I’m about to say something profound: Most of time, we speak because we have something to say. At other times we’re just rambling.
At Mountainview, we just finished our fifth week of our series on the Life of Job. The short summary is this: Job has lost everything – children, money, even camels.
For 37 chapters Job and his friends have been talking about God – but not to God. In fact, Job has been hearing from everyone but God. But that’s about to change.
Job has lost everything. His friends have been turning on him. He has expressed his frustrations and questions to God. God hasn’t sent any angels. No cosmic billboards with the answers. God remained silent until now. Certainly God doesn’t have a fear of public speaking. Two lengthy speeches begin in Job 38.
Take a moment and read Job 38-39 … Whew! Anyone else tired?
But how does God answer Job’s questions?
In the words of William Safire: “It’s as if God appears in a tie-dyed T-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘Because I’m God, That’s Why.’”
God is making this point: I’m in control of what I’ve created.
The first speech concludes in Job 40:1-5:
The Lord said to Job: 2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” 3 Then Job answered the Lord: 4 “I am unworthy — how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. 5 I spoke once, but I have no answer — twice, but I will say no more.”
Job responds with repentance and humility. With a hat-tip to Job: when speaking with God, it’s never a good idea to over-inflate your own importance.
Job might not have more to say but God isn’t finished. Job 40:6 – 41:34 contains God’s second speech, another lengthy one.
Once again, Job responds with repentance and humility:
1 Then Job replied to the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” — Job 42:1-6
Let me close by asking you a few questions.
How big is your God?
God reminded Job that he is bigger than anything Job could imagine. Isn’t that what each of us needs – a bigger God? If we create God in our own image, then we’re left with a God with our own capabilities — and limitations.
In the midst of grief, it’s easy to feel helpless and lost. But, we aren’t. In fact, the world still turns on its axis. The sun still rises and sets. Most importantly, God is still on his throne in heaven.
How comfortable are you with mystery?
At some point in life you will face things you simply won’t understand. You will have more questions than answers. But honestly, no answer will be satisfactory.
Even if you had an intellectual answer, it might not mend your heart. That’s because a relationship of trust with God is more important than having answers to all of our questions.
Where will you turn?
You can let these tragedies drive you crazy … or you can let them drive you into the arms of God.
What Job really needed to know was that God hadn’t abandoned him. You need to know that, too. God hasn’t abandoned you.
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” 7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. — Hebrews 13:5-8
In the midst of a world that gets turned upside down very easily, Jesus is the same – yesterday, today, and forever.
Turn to Jesus.