When I woke up, honestly my first thought was that Jesus was coming back. I slept in the top bunk in the staff dormitory at Forest Home Family Camp in the San Bernardino mountains that summer. It was the middle of the night and my bed was jolting forward and backward so severely that all I could do was grip the sides of the bed and look over to see my roommates standing in the middle of the room clutching each other and screaming while bottles and brushes slid off the bathroom counter. It was my first earthquake experience and was quite the eye-opener! The rest of the night we all huddled together on sleeping bags on the floor, stiffening a little each time an aftershock rumbled under the floor. More than any other time before then, I felt very small.
There is nothing you can do to stop an earthquake or prevent it. To think that the very plates of the earth were shifting and I was just a teensy person on the surface floored me. AND, to think that our planet is a tiny speck in the midst of the vast universe flung from God’s very own hand was awe-inspiring. Humbling.
The other night a thunderstorm literally roared around our townhouse while lightning flashed so rapidly outside it was as if heavenly paparazzi were surrounding us. Just think, that kind of power is enough to terrify us sometimes but it’s miniscule in the eyes of our Creator God.
If you’ve read the book of Job you know that he experienced some terrible tragedies all pretty much at the same time. He was overcome with alternating moments of grief, doubt, anger, and despair. After hearing him voice his frustrations and questions for a long time, God speaks up, “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.”
While Job sits wide-eyed and quiet, God begins a beautifully picturesque monologue about marking out the boundaries for the sea Himself and setting the earth’s foundation amidst morning stars’ songs and angel shouts. He reminds Job that He alone commands the morning to appear, even created the light itself from nothing. God alone knows the whereabouts of the storehouses of snow and rain and charts the path for the wind. He sees each animal, lovingly made, giving birth to their young. From His open hand God provides food for all his creatures – whether great flocks of birds sailing over plains or mysterious fish of all shapes and sizes swimming in the deep ocean. The brute strength of elephants, oxen and horses, the instinct a mother animal has to care for her babies, the wingspan and aerodynamics of a hawk that enables it to soar – all is given to them by God.
At this point, God asks Job if He has anything else to say and Job just shakes his head, covering his mouth with his hand.
God continues to paint the picture of Himself before Job, a picture of a God so awesome, so powerful, so sovereign, so wonderful that Job can only say, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (all from Job chapters 38-42)
In the last few weeks I’ve blogged about struggles, fears, questions, and frustrations quite a bit. In fact, just about all my posts are about me somehow. Time to focus on God more and less on myself. I could stand just as Job and say “I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful or complex for me…” I need to sit down, shut up and show reverence, Almighty God. Paint pictures of your greatness, your beauty, your miracle-making, your holiness, your strength and power.
I put my hand over my mouth.