Are the Comforts of God too Small for You?

Are the comforts of God too small for you, or the word that deals gently with you” (Job 15:11)? 

Creation!  God gave you the breath of life for His glory—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Atonement!  God mercifully covered the nakedness of your fallen first parents in the garden—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Election!  God elected you, Christian, before the world began—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Incarnation!  Immanuel lies wrapped in swaddling cloths in a humble manager—are the comforts of God too small for you? 

Substitution!  Jesus died in your place; bearing your punishment—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Redemption!  Jesus died to redeem you from the shackles of sin—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Regeneration!  Of His own will God brought you forth; you are finally alive!—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Imputation!  You are clothed with the righteousness of God in Christ—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Adoption!  The Holy Spirit bears witness that you are a child of God—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Satisfaction! Jesus gives you water that wells up into everlasting life—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Inclusion!  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Provision!  God gives you every spiritual blessing in Christ—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Sanctification!  The Holy Spirit bears fruit through you that yields the sweet nectar of holiness—are the comforts of God too small for you?

Preservation!  The LORD, your shepherd, accompanies you through the valley of the shadow of death—are the comforts of God too small for you? 

Glorification!  Your earthly slumber begins and you have awakened to His likeness—the comforts of God are not too small for you!

For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be glory forever.  Amen” (Romans 11:36).

God’s Attributes as Our Hope in Suffering

As you read through the book of Job you find a number of God’s attributes highlighted.  The attributes of God are not concepts for abstract theological discussion.  They are anchors for the soul in times of suffering.  God’s attributes, I think, became increasingly meaningful to Job.  In other words, He knew God better after profound suffering.    

 

God’s Omniscience (all-knowing)

But he knows the way that I take (Job 23:10a)

God’s Immanence (condescension or nearness).  Notice that God had a personal interest in Job: “when he has tried me.”

when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold (Job 23:10b) 

God’s Immutability (unchanging nature)

But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? (Job 23:13a)

 

God’s Sovereignty (God status and freedom of action as King of the universe)

What he desires, that he does (Job 23:13b)

 

God’s Omnisapience (all-wise).  God, having taken into account all possible paths, has carved out the paths for our lives that will bring Him the most glory and that will bring about our greatest good. 

For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind (Job 23:14)  

 

God’s Omnipotence (all-powerful).  Notice how Job uses metaphors that have to do with sound (whisper . . . thunder) to contrast how much of God’s power we see (whisper) versus how much power He actually possesses (thunder). 

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?  Job 26:14 (cf. 26:5-13)

Suffering ought to effect, among other things, a greater knowledge of God.  Not for the sake of knowledge, but for the sake of knowing our God and fulfilling our grand purpose in life: to know Him and to glorify Him forever.  Let’s search God out in the Book in which He has revealed Himself.

I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food (Job 23:12)

The Divine “Letting Loose”

I am reading through Job.  Job knew what it meant to suffer deeply.  He lost everything.  His theology was critical during his profound affliction.  Two specific points of his theology are noteworthy:

  • God is the first cause even though He used Satan to accomplish His will.  Job understood that God ultimately brought about this suffering.  Job says ” The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away” (Job 1:21).
  • God sustains life.  He also understood that life is in the hands of the Giver and Taker of life.  Job asserts ” . . . that he would let loose his hand and cut me off.”  This expression means that Job wished he were dead, which is the theme of Job 3.

That God is the first cause and that He sustains life funnel to the singular truth of God’s all-wise providence.  To be sure, Job’s suffering is profound; unlike anything I have known and frankly never care to experience.  Yet at the same time, something greater and something infinitely good came of it.  Even righteous Job had something to learn which he declares at the end of the book: “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you; [6] therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).  Evidently, some self-righteousness had to be purged from his life.    

A satisfactory answer to the “why” of Job’s suffering in particular and to human suffering in general will very likely never come in this life. But when we suffer let us tenaciously cling to the all-wise providence of a good God.  Though our suffering may be so great that we wish God “would let loose his hand and cut us off,” there is a reason God desires for us to endure suffering.  Because God is all-wise, all possible avenues to accomplish His will have been considered, the path He has chosen is what He has determined will be for our highest good and for His greatest glory. 

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.  [11] For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned?  My glory I will not give to another (Isaiah 48:10-11)