Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer Kostick is an author and speaker who teaches women how to activate their life’s purpose through the study of Scripture. Jennifer knows more about grief and loss than she ever thought she would, but Jesus met her in the middle of fierce storms and held her tightly with an even fiercer love. In addition to her love of teaching the powerful truth of Scripture, Jennifer is married to Paul, her husband of twenty-five years, has three children, and a beautiful daughter-in-law! She is also a full-time seminary student… because you can never know too much about the Bible! Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
Week Sixteen Study Overview: It’s our final week studying Job! We will discuss chapter 42, talk about repentance, friendship and promise inside pain.
Key Point of Struggle: How do we truly see God in our situations without a “whirlwind moment?”
Key Proof of Comfort: Hebrews 11:1
Well, we made it! Throughout this sixteen weeks of studying Job, my world turned upside down, but the most precious thing remained: God. My relationship with Him is built on a solid foundation, and when the wind whipped, not even losing my sweet, baby brother shook it. That’s not to say life is easy, and it’s not to convey I go to bed every night tear free, because I don’t. Two nights ago, I cried myself to sleep so hard the bed shook, but I persevere because I believe my God has a plan.
Until Job’s “whirlwind moment,” he was having a terrible time trying to make sense of his situation. His questioning had started to cross the line, and his eyes were drifting from trusting God to defending his character. At one time or another, we all seem to have that problem. Things fall apart and we immediately become caught up in our defense of the matter. In my own life, I’m really working hard on allowing God to be my defender. He’s the only One who sees the complete truth in every heart and circumstance.
However, what if the “whirlwind” never comes? What if we don’t have the view of God we need in order to make sense of our circumstances? I believe, and we’ve talked about this in previous weeks, that we need to abruptly halt trying to make sense of our situations when we’ve gone more than our fair share of time with no answers. At that point, trust becomes our faithful companion.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
We hope for answers, and we pray for a favorable end to our trial, but it’s faith that takes us each new step. It’s not in what we see; it’s in what we don’t see. It’s not in where we are right now, it’s in where we are going. In the book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis talks about pressing onto the next country. With everything in me I want to make my days count here on earth, but I’m striving for my eternity with Jesus. Every decision I make here hinges on my relationship with God, which leads to my forever with Him.
Do you remember that line from the movie Sleepless in Seattle where Tom Hanks’ character is discussing how he faces the days after his wife’s death? He said, “Well, I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out… and, then after a while, I won’t have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while.” Did you know the apostle Paul had a similar school of thought with one difference? He said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (See Philippians 3:12-14)
We press on in life. The movie Sleepless in Seattle is a good reminder of what some of us face, and it shows us the importance of pressing on. But it’s not about pressing on for merely what we have here, but for what we have in eternity. Paul talked about forgetting those things behind and reaching for what is ahead. I’m not in any way suggesting that I will ever forget my brother. I won’t. I can’t. I refuse. But I can let go of the deep wounds. I can do it through strength in Christ. I can hide inside Him and He will right wrongs. With everything in me I believe this! Life goes fast. We can’t live it trying to defend ourselves and then use excuses to not serve Christ anymore. People will fail, heartbreak will happen, but God remains faithful. Job learned this.
I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of yours can be withheld from You.
This begins what I like to call Job’s mirror moment. He got a good look at himself compared to God and realized in the scheme of things, he was so small. That’s the super cool thing about learning our significance in Christ. Yes, we are small, but He loves us so much. His love was evident in the restoration of Job’s life. We will get to that in a minute. First, let’s take a look at his friends. In Job 42:7-8, God lets the friends know He was angry. He then gives them a command and told them that after they completed their task, Job would pray for them. They did what God told them to do. God restored Job, but here’s the amazing part: After Job prayed for his friends, he was doubly restored.
And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
When Job had a clear view of God’s righteousness, he forgot about the awful way his friends had treated him, and did what was right in the eyes of God. God rewarded him for it.
We don’t always see significant change right away, but I believe God always blesses us for doing right. It might not be in the way we think, but he always comes through. There is promise in pain! There is promise for your life. May you see it each and every day!
Thank you for studying with me, friends! Join me on this Friday’s Word for Your Weekend when I announce our study for the month of November! There are some big changes happening here!
Week Fifteen Study Overview: Today is the day we’ve been waiting for! We will study Job chapters 38-41, and finally hear God’s response to Job’s lamenting!
Key Point of Struggle: How do we handle ourselves when conviction finally arises?
Key Proof of Comfort: Job 41:11
Last week, we learned that Job’s three friends stopped responding to him. Job made one final plea, but after his words were finished, a man named Elihu walked on the scene choosing to make the most out of this moment of silence in hopes of sneaking his opinions and mixed theology into the conversation. After his lectures are finished, it’s as if Elihu was never there. In fact, we never hear another word about him. Chapter 38 begins with a mighty wind.
I picture God watching every detail through Job’s suffering, hearing every word he prayed, and listening to every argument between Job and his three friends… until He couldn’t allow one more second to pass without setting Job straight.
We know that Job did nothing to cause his suffering, but he did feel as if God was absent throughout his affliction. With every breath in his body he made his feelings well known about the Almighty’s presence leaving him. Job acted as if God picked up every ounce of favor He ever bestowed on his life and left without looking back.
God never leaves.
If you’ve ever felt that way, or feel that way right now, I need you to know that God does not leave anything He created. Friend, He created you! You aren’t alone. (See Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5)
However, it can feel that way at times. Job definitely started to rely on feeling as if God was absent. And so God did what only God can do… He showed up in a way that Job could never deny.
When I start to read chapter 38, it’s as if I’m there. I picture a strong wind swirling, and a thunderous voice booming as God quickly calls everything and everyone into order. I can almost see Job drop to his knees in awe of this majestic God who was breathing life back into him through that very same whirlwind and a barrage of questions.
My favorite question comes in Job 38:4…
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding…”
God pours out question after question, but this is the one that keeps me shaking in my boots. When it comes to my own life, the truth is I wasn’t anything until He said I was, and Job wasn’t anything until He said Job was. We have no understanding of why certain situations turn out the way they do, because we have no control.
We aren’t the Creator, we are simply the created. (And yet we are so precious to Him.)
Chapters 38-40 give us glimpses into the creation story and make us more aware than ever that we must learn to be fully dependent on the One who holds everything together.
He has a perfect order and it’s not for us to understand it, it’s for us to serve Him throughout it.
None of us want to live inside sorrow, but I believe there is purpose inside every circumstance we will ever face. There is purpose in our pain. We might not ever understand it this side of heaven, but it’s never for nothing.
In Job 40, we have a chance to hear Job respond:
“Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You?”
Sometimes God gives revelation and opens ears to what hearts are finally ready to hear. Throughout, the process of conviction comes swiftly, but it’s not meant to make room for condemnation to grow. Instead, it’s meant to create a further dependency on who this great God and Father is to us, and the direction He has for our lives. It teaches us trust, how to wholly repent, and grow in holiness.
Our comfort comes through the following verse:
“…Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine.”
EVERYTHING under heaven is mine! That means we belong to Him, there is nothing under heaven that doesn’t belong to Him. There is no greater comfort. We belong to the God of the universe. We belong.
Next week, we will finally arrive at the conclusion of our There is Promise in Pain study. I’ve learned so much through these last few months, and I hope you have as well. This Friday, in our #WordforYourWeekend subscriber only content, I’m going to talk about my “God in the whirlwind moment.”
PS: I have a guest post on Jeremy and Audrey Roloff's blog: Beating 50 Percent! I would love for you to click over there and give it a read!
Week Fourteen Study Overview: Today we meet Elihu and find out what he thinks regarding Job and his friends.
Key Point of Struggle: When facing tragedy, we often forget the wondrous works of God in our lives.
Key Proof of Comfort: John 10:10 tells us we are meant to have abundant life.
After hearing so much from Job’s three friends, we find out in chapter 32 that there is someone else on the scene. His name is Elihu, and if you read him like I do, you might find him a bit arrogant. The speeches he made have been heavily debated among scholars. The reason for strong argument is because when God becomes vocal with Job near the end of the book, Elihu is not mentioned with the other three friends. We aren’t sure exactly where he stands with God. Theologians are still desperately trying to figure out the significance of what he had to say and why.
In chapter 32, he begins contradicting Job’s three friends. The men stopped replying to Job’s defense, so Elihu seizes the opportunity to speak up. He made his feelings known about how disappointed he was with what these men, who were much older, had to say. He obviously thought age contained wisdom. I think we can all agree that it depends on the individual, right? Now, before you start cheering in response to someone other than Job telling these guys off, you need to know that in chapter 33 he makes some strong opinions toward Job. He tells him he needs to repent, and shouldn’t demand an answer from God.
In chapter 34, he gives us a little sermon on God’s justice and sovereignty. As we move into chapter 35, we see he doesn’t believe any man could have the ability to be righteous. Shortly after, in chapters 36-37, he speaks of the Almighty’s goodness and majesty. This guy had a lot to say and didn’t hinder one word. Once again, throughout his speeches, we become acquainted with a bit of sketchy theology mixed with some nuggets of truth.
Elihu’s appearance in the book is interesting because it provides a pause within the constant dialogue between Job and his friends. It’s after this that the heavens broke loose, literally. God came out of the whirlwind. We will get to that next week. It’s awesome!
In the meantime, now that we’ve discussed context, let’s dig deeper into one particular verse.
“Listen to this, O Job; stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.”
I’m just wondering how often any of us actually take time to reflect on those words from Elihu? How often do we simply standstill, sit still, or lie still, and consider the astounding works of God? In my life, I’ll be honest and tell you it’s not nearly enough. I study the word, pray, and thank God for who He is, but lately I’ve been in the middle of crisis. Today would have been my brother’s 34th birthday, and I can’t wish him happy birthday. I can’t take him to Red Lobster, which is where he loved me to take him on his birthday. I can’t buy him a gift or hug him. I can’t do anything today but miss him.
In the midst of all that, it’s easy to forget the wondrous works of God. My focus seems to easily shift to what I don’t have rather than what I do have.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.
The enemy of our souls would love for us to focus solely on what seems missing rather than the abundance of life we are meant to live. On Friday’s Word for Your Weekend Video we are going to examine this passage of scripture in John along with what comes next. For today, I would love you to do this:
We serve a God who does not disappoint. Job’s friends disappointed him, but next week, we will find out that God never disappoints. Never ever.