Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 13)

God In the Spotlight (Job 4, 5)

All of our life has as its designed purpose to know Him and enjoy Him, our heavenly Father. Paul put the sum of his purpose this way, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Philippians 3:10. We all give lip service to the importance of relationship with God through Jesus Christ and yet it seems there are a thousand other things that we place as a higher priority than getting to know our Daddy.

What we often consider knowing God is actually nothing more than the collecting of some Bible facts about Him, picking out the ones we like and dismissing the ones that are hard or difficult to understand or accept and calling that man-created persona we hold in our mind Almighty God.

These little facts that we have collected about God probably reveal less than one percent of who He actually is. It would be like looking at the Grand Canyon through a straw that is fixed on a particular view and proclaiming that you have seen the Grand Canyon in all its majesty. Only now imagine that you are looking at the One who measures the universe in the palm of His hand through the same straw.

Truth is a Light and Light is very revealing. In fact Jesus, the Light and the Truth said, “… Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” John 14:9. Just as in the example of looking at the Grand Canyon through the straw, we tend to see Jesus and thus the Father with a spotlight, illuminating a smaller part of the bigger Truth. We see truth (little T), yet Truth (big T)remains unknown to us.

What we are dealing with in Job chapters 4 and 5 is men who know some things about God, but don’t know Him. They have a spotlight in the universe of God. They see parts that come into view but don’t see the parts that have not been yet revealed. To know God is not a logical fact or a mental perception it is a revelation fact. As far as I can tell, it will take all eternity to search the universe Life of God with a spotlight. Unless God reveals Himself through revelation, you cannot know Him. “… for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 16:17.

As an important reminder consider this passage: “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.  And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.  And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.  [Ye] Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:36-40.

You can read all the scripture you like, and that is great because they testify of Him. But you will not know Him until you come to Him and He reveals Himself to you. This is the confusion of Job’s friends. They have knowledge and facts about God that they have collected and they believe they know God when actually they know some things, very finite and limited, about Him. If they actually knew Him (in part) then they would realize that they don’t know Him (in whole).

Eliphaz begins by reminding Job and he their friends have God figured out and is hinting that Job should understand exactly what God is doing with him. “Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.  Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.  But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.” Job 4: 3-5.

The tone is somewhat sarcastic implying that you have instructed others and now that you are in the seat of suffering and you are experiencing things yourself, you want to change your perception of God. Exactly. That is it. We could just about stop here. Yes, we do hold a view of God that is workable with our current understanding. Current is the key point, we are looking through the straw, we have a spotlight on God. As the spotlight is moved through the universe of a new experience we have now a more current view of God.

Eliphaz continues to expound on their theology of God, the preconception that God blesses the good man and does not bless the bad man. “Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?  Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.” vv. 7,8.

Did we think that we could go to church and Sunday School for thirty years and exhaust the knowledge of God? As a modern-day prophet has said, “We are far too familiar with a God we hardly know.” Again, this is to be likened to an ant that has surveyed the limits of the sand box and believes he has seen all the world there is to see. It is exactly in the seat of suffering that our spotlight gets a new, even larger focus, that we see something that we had not noticed before.

I am come to believe that it is only in the seat of suffering that God really does have our attention. I don’t mean to discount true desire and Holy Spirit led seeking. It’s just that we do not focus so intensely on our inner man and our relationship to God and others, we do not take a true inventory of our heart and our actions and motives until we are in the seat of affliction, trial and suffering.

I told a pastor friend about seven years ago when relaying my then present suffering (and now continued suffering) that there was so much that God wanted to do with me that required such a deep surgery and removal of big noxious parts of me that He had to get me to willingly come to His operating table. It was my love for Him and the others in my life alone that brought me to the state of willingness to endure such great personal loss and pain. There was no way I would have been willing, much less understood that I needed to do this (e.g. be willing to die to mySelf), if it were not brought to my attention and concentrated focus through suffering.

You might even say that suffering is God’s chosen and often favorite instrument. So much work can be done by The Master Physician and His scalpel. It can make the finest, most accurate incision that you cannot even imagine. He is an Artist in the operating room.

Those people in the waiting room have no idea about the precision of the surgery that is going on in you. Job’s three friends are not under the scalpel. God does not have their attention. Their logical thinking, their theology, their beliefs about their beliefs are occupying their mind. Meanwhile God is transforming the mind of Job, renewing him through the revelation of Himself. And Job is a patient patient, he does not reject the Doctor’s program for him.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality. Now the spotlight is on you.