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Yesterday, we talked about how Biblical hope helps us when we are suffering. Biblical hope is defined as confident expectation based on the person and promises of GOD. (Are you tired of all the repetition yet?) The other thing I want to talk about today is struggling with GOD. Part of learning who GOD is and how it relates to our suffering or difficult change, is the concept of struggling with GOD in the way Jacob did with Him. How do we question Him as Job did? or David in some of the Psalms? or some of the other prophets?

How do you develop a close relationship with a friend? You question, argue, sometimes even fight. There needs to be some of that with GOD as your relationship deepens.

It’s part of developing a close relationship with anyone. We have fights, disagreements and arguments. It’s difficult to talk about doing the same with GOD, but when we don’t understand what is happening or are angry over it, there is some of that, that must happen if we are to get closer with Him. Otherwise, the relationship will not become a close, healthy one. It will be stilted. We will tiptoe around elephants in the room. We may even try to be passive-aggressive with GOD. That will never work out well at all! The thought of that makes me cringe! GOD is going to make the relationship a healthy one no matter how unhealthy it is from our side, so we had better adjust. Wait a minute. I think I’m preaching to myself! *ouch!*
I don’t know that I can give you a step by step on this. I’m not good at it. I do know that we are allowed to question GOD. He can handle it fine. But there is a difference between questioning Him without respect for who He is and questioning Him because we are struggling to know Him better. The actual questions may not be all that different, but the motives behind the questions are often quite different. Here are some considerations to make regarding your questions or lack of questions.
  • Am I aware that He is GOD Almighty and I am not? This is something pointed out often in Job. (See below.)
  • Do I want to know GOD better? vs. Have Him tell me all His motives before I decide whether to trust Him?
  • Am I willing to trust Him even if I don’t understand all the reasons for the actions of this Infinite GOD?
  • Am I not asking questions because I don’t want to go to those places? ie. doubt, fear, seeing that I don’t trust GOD, even anger at GOD for what He has/hasn’t done? etc.
  • Am I being spiritually lazy in not pursuing GOD with my questions during this difficult time?

When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket,
and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.

Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”

Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel,
for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.”
But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.

So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying,
“For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Genesis 32:25-31 ESV

Often, this is what we fear when we don’t ask our questions or don’t pursue GOD…that He will answer us like He did Job.

This is often what we fear when we don’t ask our questions or don’t pursue GOD. But I don’t think He is belittling Job as much as He is showing Job how huge He is and how small Job is. Well, belittling in the healthy sense. “Yes, Job. You really are small. You have no idea how small. But you also have no idea how huge I am either! That’s why we need this conversation.”

Rather than talk to each other only, we need to talk to GOD more during these hard times. We need to struggle more with Him and be reminded of how huge He is. This chapter in Job goes on beautifully to describe in the same way, His massiveness. You will find reading it through will be encouraging when it comes to thinking of who GOD is. It is certain that Job was struggling with that!

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

Job 38:1, 4-11 ESV