When you pass someone on the sidewalk wearing a large “How Can I Pray for You?” button, you pay attention. I met Lori Hatcher at a conference just after a crazy, frustrating afternoon. She smiled and prayed with me.
Have you ever wanted someone to be your friend as soon as you met her? My friend, Lori Hatcher, laughs easily and loves big. Her love for God and people shine in her writing.
Because of my friendship with Lori, I have a gift for you today—a sample devotion from her new book, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible. Enjoy!
Guest Post by Lori Hatcher
What God Is Doing in Your Crazy, Frustrating Life
Book of Job
“Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”
Do you ever wonder what in the world God is doing in your crazy, frustrating life?
- God, what good does it do to keep reaching out to difficult people when they don’t seem to care?
- God, why is that ministry thriving and mine just limping along?
- God, why did I spend half my life teaching my kids to love you only to have them turn their backs on faith?
- God, why should I keep praying when nothing ever changes?
- God, if I’m obeying your call, why is it so hard?
- God, what are you doing in this crazy life of mine????
If you can relate to any of these questions, there’s hope. Hope that comes, of all places, from the book of Job.
God is laughing already.
Who would think a man who had lost ten children in a tragic accident, went from millionaire to pauper in a day, and was married to a cruel, faithless woman would have any hope to offer? But in God’s upside down economy, it’s not surprising at all.
In the twenty-sixth chapter of the book that bears his name, Job rehearses for his “miserable comforters” the might, power, and majesty of God.
“He hangs the earth on nothing,” he says. “He binds up the water in His thick clouds . . . He stirs up the sea with His power . . . By His Spirit He adorned the heavens . . . (v. 7-13)”
Then he concludes with this awe-struck realization:
“Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”
The mere edges of his ways.
I grew up on the rocky shores of Narragansett Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island. I’d often sit at the shoreline, wade in the shallows, or swim out until my feet barely touched the bottom. Because I had lived around the sea all my life, I thought I knew it well.
Then one day I boarded a ship that took me hundreds of miles off shore, where the water stretched from horizon to horizon and the ocean floor lay miles beneath me. Only then did I begin to understand the true nature of the ocean. Before that, I had experienced the mere edges – and how small a whisper they had been.
After pointing out our nearsighted perspective, Job lifts the fog on the ocean of God’s ways: “But the thunder of his power, who can understand?”
Paul, in First Corinthians, says it like this:
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (2:9).
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror (13:12).
As Christians bound to the earth by our mortality, we glimpse only the mere edges of His ways. And hear only small whispers of Him.
But one day we’ll sail out into the vast expanse of no-time life. We’ll hear the clarion call of his mighty voice. We’ll witness the thunder of his power. And we will understand.
- Every Bible verse you taught your children? Seed for the harvest.
- Every hour spent responding patiently to difficult people? Sandpaper smoothing the edges of your soul.
- Every late night and early-morning prayer time? A fragrant offering.
- Every kind deed done in Jesus’ name? Stepping stones on the journey toward righteousness.
Job can speak into our angst and impatience because he, too, wondered what in the world God was doing. How could anything good be happening when he saw so few results?
But Job clung to his integrity, remained faithful to God, and never stopped believing that somehow, somewhere, God was using his suffering to bring about a mighty harvest.
“I know that my Redeemer lives,” he declared triumphantly, “and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God” (19:25-26).
Because of the gift of Scripture, we know what Job didn’t – that God was using the panorama of his life – the pain and the pleasure – to script a faith story so genuine that it would encourage believers for millennia.
We know none of Job’s heart wrenching experiences were wasted. Even today, thousands of years later, God continues to use his insight and example to encourage us along our journey.
Perhaps God will use (is using?) our lives to do the same.
“God is not unjust;” the writer of Hebrews promises, “he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Heb. 6:10).
Today, if you’re wondering what in the world God is doing in your crazy, frustrating life, be encouraged. These are only the edges of his ways. The vast ocean lies before you.
As Christians bound to the earth by our mortality, we glimpse only the mere edges of God’s ways. And hear only small whispers of Him.
Sometimes we can look back at times in our lives and see how God used our hardships and trials to accomplish something amazing. Other times the curtain remains closed. When you think about Job and others from Bible history (Moses, Joseph, David, the widow from Elijah’s day, Naomi, Hannah), do you think they knew fully how God was going to use their difficulties for his glory?
Is it safe to assume, then, since the same God who ordered the events of their lives also orders ours that he is similarly at work in our lives? Although it may be hard to conceive how anything good could come out of a dark time, imagine for a few moments how God might use your struggles to bring about something amazing. If what we see is only the edge of his ways, what might the whole ocean look like? Ponder this.
Unfamiliar Passage Read Job 26:7-14.
©Lori Hatcher 2020
Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is a collection of the treasure I unearthed during my year of searching. Each story-driven devotion contains an unusual verse, a real-life application, and an uncommon faith step. I hope my book will energize your faith, inspire your devotional time, and make you say, “Wow, I’ve never seen that before!”Lori Slice Hatcher, author
Lori’s book is doing just that for me!