Given these current events, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been afraid. This hasn’t been an all-consuming fear that rears its head throughout my day. For others, it might be. As for me, I live fine in my solitude and it’s only when I read a new headline or statistic that I feel the brush of fear. I’m less scared for myself and more for others, especially members of my immuno-compromised family. But it’s a fear that I have to confront and confront diligently with prayer. I believe God to be mysterious and mighty, but through some current reading, I’ve also learned more that there are things that just aren’t for me to know. The unknown is intimidating, but I worship the God who knows all; so I trust Him by coming to Him through prayer.
Celebrating Easter alone is what really spurred these thoughts forward. Easter was strange for me, familiar and surreal at the same time. However, it was still beautiful, because as Pastor Bill said: the church is empty, but the tomb is too.
It’s a thing that reminds me that in earlier times of fear, people had no idea what was coming the day that the tomb would be empty. They would have no idea the implications it would have, prophecies fulfilled, the radical, drastic alterations it would have for the salvation of many. But yet they still longed for it.
“For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him,
That we should come to trial together.
There is no arbiter between us,
Who might lay his hand on us both.
Let him take his rod away from me,
And let not dread of him terrify me.
Then I would speak without fear of him,
For I am not so in myself.”
–Job 9:32-35 (ESV)
“God is not a mortal like me,
So I cannot argue with him or take him to trial.
If only there were a mediator between us,
Someone who could bring us together.
The mediator could make God stop beating me,
And I would no longer live in terror of his punishment.
Then I could speak to him without fear,
But I cannot do that in my own strength.”
–Job 9:32-35 (NLT)
Job was a righteous, innocent man, one whom God found no fault in. He was faithful, and yet Satan challenged God, saying that Job was only righteous for how God had protected him. And thus begins the book of Job: how does faith prevail when you are suffering?
In Job 9, Job responds to the criticism of one of his friends by directly calling out God’s character. Because of his circumstances, Job has a hard time understanding the will of God and wishes that there was someone who could intercede on his behalf. Job longs for a direct connection with God, someone who could also bring God and Job together. What Job is longing for is explained perfectly in 1 Timothy 2:5-6: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
Eventually, God reveals himself to Job in the form of a storm cloud, bringing an end to the debates and confusion within Job’s mind and heart. Job therefore repents for speaking out of turn about God’s character, or for speaking of things he didn’t understand, things too wonderful for him to know.
Let us be glad and rejoice that these wonderful things have been revealed to us in the form of Christ. These present times are hard; they can be faith shaking, grief-ridden, lonely, bitter, lazy, anything at all. But we are not Job; we are not as innocent, as blameless, and we surely have not suffered as much as him. But even he, in his own way, turned to Christ. Let us do the same.
I admit that I am afraid, but my fear has no power over me at all when I remember the cross, when I remember the empty tomb. The God of the universe made himself known to us, he came to heal, to love, to restore, to bring us home to his kingdom, but only if we have faith in Him first. Beautiful faith, confusing faith, faith like Job: full of questions and trust and love and doubt, all at once. Our faith is imperfect, but what’s remarkable is that while our faith is imperfect, God knows this; and so Christ is perfect and will be perfect where we are not. It is a truth not to be taken for granted, but to be rejoiced in. There is a quote from Spurgeon that has helped me a lot lately, written during a cholera outbreak in his time of ministry: “Now is the time for all of you who love souls.”
Let us be a people who pray for one another fervently, who serve their community in healthy and safe ways, and who recognize the guiding hand of God who oversees all things for good.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”