There’s no denying this world is full of challenges, and that some of them can lead to us finding ourselves squirming against God’s will or instructions when our own ideas are so different. As humans, we tend to kick and wriggle and want what we want. But when struggling against God – the One who knows your next move before you make it – we have to remember how completely unparalleled and boundlessly good He is.
We read in the Bible that Job was a character who truly understood what going through a challenge was like, and that he knew the taste of suffering very well.
“Even young children despise me; I arise, and they speak against me. All my close friends abhor me, and those whom I love have turned against me. My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.” – Job 19:18-20 (NKJV)
“Oh, that my grief were fully weighed, and my calamity laid with it on the scales! For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea.” – Job 6:2-3 (NKJV)
Job felt hopelessness. He wondered why such terrible things were happening to him, the way many of us have before. He was one to question God, to ask why and what for, as is our nature.
“What strength do I have, that I should hope? And what is my end, that I should prolong my life?”
– Job 6:11 (NKJV)
Then God answered Him with a truth about who He was (Job 38-42) that was so powerful that it left Job shaken.
“At this also my heart trembles, and leaps from its place. Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that comes from His mouth.” – Job 37:1-2 (NKJV)
“I am unworthy- how can I reply to You? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer- twice, but I will say no more.” – Job 40:4-5 (NIV)
There is no one slower to anger than God. It’s a consistent theme throughout the Bible, seen in the different stories of many other characters in the old testament and then in how Jesus loved patiently in the new testament. His patience is manifest, and He is constant in who He is. Constantly merciful, constantly gracious, constantly compassionate. But He is also steadily just and sovereign. His ways are always better, and His guidance is always higher.
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,’” – Isaiah 46:10 (NKJV)
We can still take our complaints and questions to Him and know that He will always listen to our hearts, whether they’re angry or content. We can lay ourselves bare before Him.
“I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.” – Psalm 142:2-3 (NKJV)
But when He tells us something we don’t really want to hear, or when He corrects us where we’re wrong, we don’t enjoy that very much. We so often think we know what we want or need. The wonderful thing, though, is that He loves us and has only good for us in His heart. He is the only one who knows what is going on behind the scenes, and why things are happening as they are. We can know that He is working out everything for us. If Jesus dying on the cross wasn’t enough to prove that He has only love for us, then what could be?
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
When God brings to our remembrance how big and omnipotent He is, and at the same time how passionate His love for us is, our attitude should be like Job’s was when he was rebuked.
“I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” – Job 42:3 (NKJV)
But sometimes we doubt, sometimes we feel bitter. And sometimes we fight God all the way down the path He wants to lead us along, asking to head in a different direction or getting upset and resentful when we meet an obstacle. But why? We should have this deep sense of peace and belonging in Him, knowing that we can trust Him, knowing that no one could ever handle our lives better than He can. We should be confident that He will overcome every obstacle for us, because that’s what He does. He overcomes.
He will never force you to follow Him. But He has so much waiting for you, and there are so many ways He wants to grow and change you along the way. He wants you to put your heart in His hand and trust, because when you do, incredible things happen.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in Him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 (NKJV)
He is stronger than any other, and He alone can discern hearts. When you wrestle with God, He will never hurt you. He will gently, but firmly, remind you of who He is. He will overpower you with His love and infiniteness. He’ll take any punch you throw and still want to just love you. And He will win, restoring in you the precious truth that He does love you with an everlasting love, that He does have unthinkably good plans for you, and that He still wants you very much, even when you fight Him.