NOTE: This is a written version of the message I delivered on April 5, 2015.
On March 5, the storm came. The relentless winter had brought another round of snow. It was supposed to come at 5 a.m. that morning, but it did not arrive until 8 a.m. And this was for good reason.
The evening before, our youngest child had symptoms, which concerned us. We checked his blood sugar and the high result caused us to fear the worst. We errantly waited till morning when my wife called the pediatrician who urged us to
get him to the hospital right away. The storm was coming. My wife left just before the snow's arrival and made the 1-hour drive over a mountain to the hospital. I stayed behind with our other children.
The storm had come and it was more than a mere snowstorm.
A week later, I looked back at the prior seven days and what all had occurred: Our youngest had the diagnosis of Type I Diabetes; we had to replace brakes on the car; my daughter's hamster died; our cat went missing; I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon as well as a hand specialist.
There was grief, anger and defeat.
However, God was at work. He had delayed the snowstorm and got my wife and son to the hospital safely. I arrived safely the next day. Due to snow, my workplace was
closed for the days I needed to attend to my family. While at the hospital, the ideal visitors arrived at our room: a family from our church who walked this journey with their own son four years ago. His quarterly Diabetic check-up happened to be that day. Driving over the mountain that night after a snowstorm alarmed me, but the roads were clear and a full moon lit up the way.
I recall telling my daughter these things and that if God took care of these details, He would take care of her brother in the hospital and take care of us.
That week of the storm during my devotions, one of my readings was Job 19. And I took some things from it. Job, as you know, was in a storm of loss, rejection, trial and pain. In Job 19:1-6 (NASB) Job feels insulted by his so-called friends; they have accused and shamed him instead of comforting or encouraging or walking alongside of him and he responds:
Then Job responded,
"How long will you torment me
And crush me with words?
"These ten times you have insulted me;
You are not ashamed to wrong me.
"Even if I have truly erred,
My error lodges with me.
If indeed you vaunt yourselves against me
And prove my disgrace to me,
Know then that God has wronged me
And has closed His net around me.
Everything Is against Him
Have you ever felt insulted or rejected - even by those who call themselves friends?
In verses 7-22, Job feels as if everyone is against him and that he is forgotten. He asks the great "Why?"
question. Have you been there? Are you there now? I asked, "Why?" during the storm and I've asked since. Job continues:
"Behold, I cry, 'Violence!' but I get no answer;
I shout for help, but there is no justice.
"He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass,
And He has put darkness on my paths.
"He has stripped my honor from me
And removed the crown from my head.
"He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone;
And He has uprooted my hope like a tree.
"He has also kindled His anger against me
And considered me as His enemy.
"His troops come together,
And build up their way against me
And camp around my tent.
"He has removed my brothers far from me,
And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
"My relatives have failed,
And my intimate friends have forgotten me.
"Those who live in my house and my maids consider me a stranger.
I am a foreigner in their sight.
"I call to my servant, but he does not answer;
I have to implore him with my mouth.
"My breath is offensive to my wife,
And I am loathsome to my own brothers.
"Even young children despise me;
I rise up and they speak against me.
"All my associates abhor me,
And those I love have turned against me.
"My bone clings to my skin and my flesh,
And I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.
"Pity me, pity me, O you my friends,
For the hand of God has struck me.
"Why do you persecute me as God does,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?
Job is poured out and at the end of himself. Yet, God wants us to be at the end of ourselves. I once asked the question, which I will ask you:
"Why do we eat?" What would you say? We need nourishment outside of ourselves. We were designed that way.
And if that is true physically, that is all the more true spiritually. When we come to the end of ourselves,
we find that we need to turn to God, which is Whom we should have been turning to all along. Even at arriving at
the end of himself and coming through such great trials, Job gives an inspiring response in verses 23-29:
"Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
"That with an iron stylus and lead
They were engraved in the rock forever!
"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
"Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another.
My heart faints within me!
"If you say, 'How shall we persecute him?'
And 'What pretext for a case against him can we find?'
"Then be afraid of the sword for yourselves,
For wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
So that you may know there is judgment."
Job's words were written! And they are in God's Word - forever! He speaks with confidence that he will
see God and justice will be done. And there is a phrase he says in verse 25, which brings comfort in the storms
of life: "I know that my Redeemer lives."
Who is your Redeemer? Do you believe that He lives? I have had storms, have described a recent stormy time in my life and will have storms.
You may have had storms as bad as mine or worse. Yet, our trials are not as great as Job's trials. Job lost his
possessions, his home and his family. His wife even told him to curse God and die (Job 2:9), but Job would not. And Job lost his health and there was
no doctor or nurse to tend to him. His friends shamed and accused him. Still, Job said, "I know my Redeemer lives."
Can you say that during the storms you face? The band Casting Crowns sings in "Praise You in the Storm" the following chorus:
I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
Do you feel that way? Are you going to Him? Are you praising Him? As we celebrate Easter, we remember our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus
Christ who lives. He died in your place on the cross, was buried and rose again. That's what we celebrate at
Easter. And we should celebrate that every day, even in the days that are hard. Do you praise Him in the storm and
declare that your Redeemer lives? He is Risen! He lives and He walks through the valley of the shadow of death with you and comforts you (see Psalm 23:4).
I know my Redeemer lives.