Summary: From the the life of Job we can learn what to do when God is silent.
When You Can’t Find God
* Every time this country goes to war, sadly, we always find ourselves with a list of unaccounted for service people. We call these people “missing in action”, which we have shortened to MIA. Regardless of the reason(s), they cannot be found and accounted for.
* Have you ever had your world to seemingly turn ‘upside-down’ and when you prayed, you couldn’t seem to find God and felt like He was MIA? When you prayed, your prayers didn’t seem to get above the ceiling and the skies were overcast with brass. I submit this was Job’s dilemma. Let look at him.
* We have read the words of THIS ONE MAN IN BIBLICAL history whom we KNOW was God’s pride and joy. In the words of scripture, Job was a man of integrity, who feared God, and turned away from evil. He was the greatest man among all the people of the east.” That truth is affirmed when God begins to brag on Job to none other than Satan. God tells Satan to consider, behold, and take a look at the one He was most proud of and pleased with. Satan, revealing the heart of mankind in his fallen state, says, “Let me at him.” This seems to be a truth which permeates our world. If someone is living large for the Lord, there will be someone close by who desires to pull them down.
* I have often wondered what it would be like to be a person who God would “brag on?” Admittedly, I may be the one who rivals Paul as the “Chief of Sinners” and God’s poster boy of how NOT to live, but I surely would love to be the one about whom God’s would say, “Look a there, that’s person who’s doing it right, my way, and I’m proud of him.”
* Have you ever given serious thought to what that might take? When it comes to our children and grandchildren they have to do NOTHING for us to brag on them. In fact (and sadly) we brag on them no matter what. Because of human emotionalism, we tend to put our blinders on with them. However, I can take you to some parents who I have heard lament and say, “I didn’t raise them to be that way,” or “I wish they would simply act like I raised them to act.” What a heart break.
* But God is different. He has a standard. He doesn’t brag on just anyone.
* Now think about this: Satan was allowed to take almost everything that Job had acquired, even down to his children. If that wasn’t enough, Satan was allowed to infect Job with a painful and incurable skin disease resembling ‘leprosy’. Now ask yourself this question; how would you respond if this much tragedy happened to you? Would end your prayer, “Praise the name of the Lord?” What if in the midst of these tragedies your mate said, “Who are you kidding? Why do you continue to give God your love? Curse God! It won’t matter!” What would you do? By the way, his three friends didn’t affirm his faith or his confidence in God at all.
* We could go through this entire story and learn many lessons, but here is the singular point which brings us back to the 23rd chapter of Job. It is important to notice that while WE know what God is doing; God does not even speak to Job for 37 chapters. Knowing in his heart, that he has not violated God’s word and confidence, he is seeking to know what gives. Everywhere he looks he cannot seem to find God, it’s like Jehovah is MIA.
* Have you ever felt that way? No matter what you do, where you look, or how you speak, the skies seem like brass and you are alone.
1. The Reasons – Now I’ll not pretend to be all exhaustive of reasons, but let’s agree that anytime you cannot “find” God, it is a TEST>
a. Trial – From reading Holy Scriptures in total, we know that God uses trials in the life of HIS children to make us better, not bitter. Job says, “When He has tested or tried me, I will come forth as gold.” Most of can picture the process in our mind’s eye and see the heat of the furnace bringing the impurities to the top where they are scrapped off. But a modern day process is this: place the gold in a powerful acid called and allow it to sit there overnight. The acid will separate the good metal from the slag. The trial which God gives us has this type of impact on us. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” (HCSB) In the midst of a trial God may not seem to be available, but make no mistake, He is there!