I had a friend in college who journeyed down a dark, no-turning-back alley that he later regretted. It started with a mirror, a razor, and…standing in front of that mirror shirtless. He thought, “I could trim a little of my chest hair there.” And so he did. But then he noticed it wasn’t even on another side, so he did a little more. Once you go down that path, it’s a slippery slope. By the time we got the story, we were looking at a smooth, bare-chested guy, who was constantly itching. All he had left was a worn out razor and an opening for a life coach!
Now why do I bring that up, other than the fact that we are beginning to reemerge from the caves of our homes in this lockdown? One of the phrases I’ve heard numerous times from people who have had de-conversion stories is that they began to pull at a loose thread, like something hanging from a sweater. So let’s take an assessment of the country right now: it is in complete and utter chaos. Right? Confusion, anger, social action, fear, racism, and looting just to name a few. So with this whole trainwreck happening right in front of us, belief in God and who He is, what He wants to do or can do, is like a thread for many. And they’re starting to pull at that thread to see where it leads.
Job is one of the most well-known stories of the Bible. Great man of God. Had an enviable great life and family. But he found himself in the middle of a test and spiritual battle. He understandably had all kinds of questions that were unanswered for a while. His family was taken from him (except his wife, which might have said something-ha!), his wealth, and his health. Even his “wise friends” weren’t really on his side, because they gave him terrible advice. So Job had a thread that intrigued him. “Why is this happening?” “Why is God not answering?” In essence, Job attempts to sue God. “If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say to me. ”
He wants an answer and he throws out all his evidence for why he is innocent. Finally, though, God responds with legal terms. And Job’s case is thrown out on a technicality. Job got what he wanted–a response from the Creator. That’s when God almost systematically speaks of His qualifications for why He does what He does. Even His entrance is frightening and unmatched! It says He spoke to Job out of the storm! And He said, “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” What do you say to that? “Ummm. Just kidding.”
I will always say about the book of Job, that it’s a question of whether or not God is worth worshipping regardless of what happens. Is He only worth worshipping if everything goes the way we expect? Is He only worth following if He fulfills our wildest dreams? Is He only worth being around if He doesn’t allow anything bad to happen to us? All of us will inevitably come to a conclusion on this. Right now the trainwreck that is 2020 is in front of us all. The world is on fire, lines are being drawn, and sin is running rampant. Is God enough? Are you in, or are you out? I could leave it right there, but I want to offer a little more solace for the future. Because even though we are working from a limited understanding of everything, we are not completely unaware. In Christ we have hope, we have a future, we have life, we have forgiveness, we have everything that our hearts and bones are crying out for. We see hope in Revelation.
“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Never forget that. Don’t lose hope. What He said He will do, He will do. There’s always going to be a loose thread somewhere in our lives that has the potential to distract us, or try to pull us away from Jesus. Don’t be afraid to seek out answers. In fact, do seek them out! God is there! He is involved! He is in control! There will be justice! He will make things right! And those of us who simply put our faith and trust in Jesus will be given unimaginable grace and love. Those of us from every nation, race, family, and social class will be included in that. We will leave this sin and brokenness behind and be ushered into the arms of the King of Kings who will also be our Father of Fathers. That is why I pray and plead with you. When you pull on those loose threads, I hope it leads you to this picture. There is hope. And it is found in Jesus.