Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament poetic book of Job which not only describes the suffering of Job, but also the struggle and conflict of that suffering in the company of his three friends. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty-three through twenty-eight of this Old Testament book. THE COMPLAINTS OF THE SUFFERER! THE STRUGGLE(S) OF THE SUFFERER! THE QUESTIONS OF THE SUFFERER! THE CONFUSION OF THE SUFFERER! THE CONFLICT OF THE SUFFERER! WRESTLING WITH THE NATURE OF GOD! WRESTLING WITH THE CHARACTER OF GOD! WRESTLING WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS! TRYING TO EXPLAIN GOD IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING! HOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN GOD IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING! CAN YOU UNDERSTAND GOD IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING? WHAT DOES YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF GOD LOOK LIKE PRIOR TO ENTERING INTO SUFFERING? WHEN ENTERING INTO SUFFERING—DO YOU LEARN MORE ABOUT YOURSELF, OR MORE ABOUT GOD? SUFFERING IS A GREAT TUTOR IN THE WAYS OF GOD AND IN UNDERSTANDING WHO YOU ARE! THE TEMPTATION TO TRY AND EXPLAIN GOD IN THE MDST OF SUFFERING! IS GOD AS MUCH CONCERNED WITH YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF HIM IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING AS MUCH AS TRANSFORMING YOU INTO WHO HE WANTS YOU TO BE? IS IT POSSIBLE THAT DURING TIMES OF SUFFERING WE LEARN WHO WE ARE, WHILE DURING TIMES OF PEACE WE LEARN WHO GOD IS?
“The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). “What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). “Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?” (Job 3:23). “For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me” (Job 6:4). “Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off! Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; For I have not concealed the words of the Holy One” (Job 6:8-10). “I know it is so of a truth: But how should man be just with God? If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand. He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: Who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?” (Job 9:1-4). “Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in His anger. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number” (Job 9:5-10). “Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not. Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? Who will say unto him, What doest thou? If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him. How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him? Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge” (Job 9:11-15). “If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had heartened unto me voice. For he breaketh me with a temptest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause. He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness. If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?” (Job 9:16-18). “This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked. If the scourge slay suddenly, He will laugh at the trial of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?” (Job 9:22-24). “I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? Hast thou eyes of flesh? Or seest thou as man seeth? Are thy days as the days of man? Are thy years as man’s days, that thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?” (Job 10:3-6). “Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I Know that this is with thee. If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mind affliction; for it increaseth. Thou huntress me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvelous upon me. Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increases the thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me” (Job 10:8-17).
“I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease. The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly” (Job 12:4-6). ”Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:9-10). “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding. Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening. Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his. He leadeth counsellers away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools. He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. He removeth away the speech of the trust, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty. He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death. He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straitenethh them again. He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way. They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man” (Job 12:12-25). “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him” (Job 13:15-16). “God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked. I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark. His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reigns asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground. He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant” (Job 16:10-14). “Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compasses me with his net” (Job 18:6). “Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. He hath destroyed me on everything side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle” (Job 18:7-12).
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27). “Shall any teach God knowledge? Seeing he judgeth those that are high” (Job 21:22). “Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. Oh that I knew where I might find him! That I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me” (Job 23:2-5). “Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me. There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge. Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him” (Job 23:6-9). “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My footy hath held his steps, his way have I Kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? And what his soul desire the, even that he doeth” (Job 23:10-13). “For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. Therefore am I troubled at his presence: When I consider, I am afraid of him. For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face” (Job 23:14-17). “Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof. Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. He stretcheth out the north over the tempts place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it. He hath compasses the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud. By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? But the thunder of his power who can understand” (Job 26:2-14).
MAKING COMPLAINTS ABOUT GOD! MAKING COMPLAINTS TO GOD! ASKING QUESTIONS OF GOD! MAKING DECLARATIONS ABOUT GOD! CONTRASTING THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED! STRUGGLING TO EXPLAIN GOD, STRUGGLING TO UNDERSTAND GOD! When you read the words which are written and recorded within the Old Testament book of Job you will find that it is a book that describes the suffering which Job faced and experienced as a direct result of the sovereignty of God, and yet in the midst of the suffering of Job we find him struggling in the midst of it. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that as you read the words which are recorded within the book of Job that he was a man who was permitted to suffer at the hands of Satan the adversary, which was permitted by the living and eternal God. If there is one thing we must realize and recognize concerning the suffering of Job it’s that not only was the suffering he experienced based on the sovereignty of God permitting that which he experienced, but his suffering was also based on the sovereignty God concerning that which the LORD had kept and preserved him from. If we are going to truly understand the suffering of Job we must recognize and understand that there were indeed three different realms in which that suffering could and should be understood. I continue to believe that the suffering of Job must needs be and obviously is understood in the realm of what was—that which Job actually experienced within his life. The suffering of Job must be understood in terms of what the living and eternal God did in fact allow to take place within his life—namely the adversary’s ability to touch all that he had, and then the adversary’s ability to touch Job’s physical body. We dare not miss and lose sight of the suffering which Job experienced, for what he experienced was indeed incredibly trying. Lest you think that Job’s suffering was in and of itself not trying as it is presented in Scripture, I would ask how you would react and how you would respond if you found yourself in his shoes tomorrow. What if you woke up tomorrow and you suddenly, unexpectedly and without warning lost absolutely everything you had? What if you woke up tomorrow and everything you owned was consumed by a fire or destroyed in a flood? What if you woke up tomorrow and everything you had was completely taken and carried away? What if you woke up tomorrow only to discover that that one, or perhaps even those whom you love were suddenly and tragically taken from you? How would you respond if you woke up tomorrow and found yourself with grievous sores and boils upon your body as Job had experienced?
As we read the narrative surrounding the suffering of Job we must absolutely recognize and understand it direct connection with the sovereignty of God—and not only in the sovereignty of God, but also in the silence of God. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that as we read the story of the suffering of Job we notice the sovereignty over that which Job experienced, and the silence of God which almost seems to be directly linked and connected to that suffering. Perhaps one of the greatest struggles we face in the midst of our suffering is understanding (and recognizing) the sovereignty of God—and not only the sovereignty of God, but also the silence of God. If and as you read the narrative of Job’s suffering you will find that in the midst of it he wrestled and struggled with the voice and presence of God, for during that time he undoubtedly felt as though God was somehow distant and far removed from him. The Old Testament book of Job expresses and reveals Job’s struggle with the presence and voice of the living God in the midst of his suffering, and whether or not God was even present or listening. Have you ever been there? Have you ever found yourself in the place where you have been in the throes and bowels of suffering, and in the midst of the suffering you have found yourself wondering where the voice and presence of the living God truly are? Have you ever found yourself experiencing and walking through something that was indeed trying and troubling, and despite how much you searched you couldn’t find the living God? Despite the fact that you sought the God earnestly with tears you were unable to actually hear His voice, or even feel His presence. For Job, I am absolutely and completely convinced that in the midst of this suffering—not only was He unable to hear the voice of the living God, but so also was He unable to feel his presence and the nearness which he had perhaps experienced in times past. I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the greatest struggles surrounding our suffering is feeling as though God is silent and as though God is absent in the midst of it. As if the suffering itself wasn’t hard enough there is the added struggle of feeling as though God is silent and we are unable to hear His voice. Moreover, the struggle of feeling as though God is absent is equally as hard and painful as feeling as though God is silent in the midst of what we are facing and experiencing. It’s important to realize and recognize that much of the Old Testament book of Job doesn’t even describe dialogue taking place between Job and the living God, but rather dialogue taking place between Job and his three friends. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for it has the ability to dramatically alter our perception of the suffering we find ourselves experiencing in the midst of our lives.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing realities concerning the suffering of Job is that in the midst of it his three friends were closer to him than perhaps the living God was, and the voices of his three friends were louder than the voice of the living God. Please be sure to catch and recognize this, for it’s one thing to suffering, but it’s something else altogether to walk through that suffering with the voice of others seemingly replacing the voice of God, and the presence and company of others replacing the presence of God. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand concerning suffering, it’s that in the midst of it there is nothing that can compare to the voice of the living God, and there is nothing that can compare to the presence of the living God. In the midst of suffering there is absolutely nothing that can take the place of the divine presence of the living God, for it’s in the presence of the living God where there is fullness of joy. In the midst of suffering there is absolutely nothing that can take the place of the voice of the living God, and more often than not we simply just want to hear His voice and know that He is still speaking. I am absolutely convinced that two of the greatest questions in the midst of suffering is “God are you still there,” and “God are you still speaking?” What’s more, is that it would be very easy in the midst of suffering to feel as though you can no longer sense the divine presence of God, and that you can no longer hear the voice of God speaking. In all reality, I would dare say that one of the greatest temptations to guard against in the midst of suffering is that of believing the lie and the deception that you have somehow reached the place where you can no longer hear the voice of the living God, and where you can no longer sense the presence of the living God. What we find within the he narrative of the suffering of Job is that it truly does feel as though God was silent in the midst of his suffering, and that God was absent. Oh, it was true that Job was in the company of his three friends, and it was true that Job heard the voices of this three friends, but that paled in comparison to actually hearing the voice of the living God, and experiencing his divine presence in the midst of one’s life.
It is absolutely remarkable and astounding to think about and consider the fact that when you read the suffering of Job the living and eternal God was silent, and it did seem and appear as though He was both distant and absent. We find the LORD and Satan interacting with each other in the first two chapters of this Old Testament book, and yet much of the book centers around the struggle and conflict Job had in the midst of his suffering—struggling to understand God, struggling to explain God, struggling to find God, struggling to hear God. STRUGGLING TO UNDERSTAND GOD! STRUGGLING TO EXPLAIN GOD! STRUGGLING TO FIND GOD! STRUGGLING TO HEAR GOD! STRUGGLING TO FEEL GOD! The narrative of Job’s suffering is such that needs to be recognized and understood, for it was more than simply a narrative about suffering, but it was also about one man’s struggle in the midst of that suffering with the living God whom he had faithfully walked with and followed. In all reality, I can’t help but get the strong sense that in the midst of our suffering there are two distinct realities we must in fact encounter and come face to face with—namely, the struggle to understand the LORD our God, and struggling to understand ourselves and who we are. If there is one thing I absolutely and without a doubt feel that suffering fulfills and accomplishes within our lives is that it is not only a means for us to understand who the living and eternal God is, but also coming to understand who we as the people of God truly are. It is in the midst of our suffering where perhaps the greatest struggle we face centers upon our understanding, our reality, our knowledge of, and our perception of the living God. If and as you read the words which are written and recorded within this Old Testament poetic book you will find that it is a book that centers around Job’s struggle to understand God—particularly and especially during a time when He seemed distant, during a time when He seemed absent, and during a time when He seemed silent. Stop for a moment and think about those three realities—the reality of God seeming silent, the reality of God seeming absent, and the reality of God seeming distant, for these are very real thoughts and emotions we face in the midst of our suffering. What’s more, is that it is especially difficult to try and understand God when He not only seems distant, but also when He seems absent. I must admit—and you would most likely agree with me—that it is more often than not incredibly hard to try and understand God when He not only seems distant, but also when he seems absent. I am fairly confident you would agree with me when I make the statement that it is difficult to try and understand God when you feel as though He is silent and you can’t hear His voice.
GOD I JUST WANT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE! GOD I JUST WANT TO FEEL YOUR PRESENCE! If you are being honest with yourself, as well as with the living and eternal God you must admit and acknowledge that more often than not during suffering—two of the greatest desires and needs you have is to hear the voice of God speaking to you, and feeling the presence of God within your life. More often than not, that which you seek and desire within your heart is simply to know that the LORD has not cast you off, that He has not forsaken you, that He has not abandoned you, that He is not ignoring you, and that He has not departed from you. What’s more, is that there is this great and tremendous desire to feel and understand that the LORD your God is still speaking to you, and that you can still hear His voice when speaking. It is very easy to walk through suffering and to believe the lie and the deception that you have somehow lost your ability to hear the voice of God, and that you have somehow lost your ability to experience and feel the divine presence of the living God. There is not a doubt in my mind that when you read the narrative of the suffering of Job that he was a man who not only suffered at the hands of the adversary, but he also struggled with the divine presence and voice of the living God within his life, and his ability to sense and experience both. It would be during this time of intense suffering that Job would find himself in a place where he would struggle tremendously with finding the presence and voice of God, and even more so in the midst of the confusion and chaos his three friends created with their own “understanding” and “wisdom.” It would be during the time which Job suffered as a result of the activity of the adversary within his life that he would truly question the presence and voice of the living God in his life, and truly ask where God was. I am absolutely and utterly convinced that has always been and will always be one of the greatest struggles in the midst of our suffering—regardless of the scope and magnitude of the suffering, for there will always be that question regarding the presence and voice of the living God and wondering if the LORD our God is even truly available. How many times have you yourself wrestled and struggled within the midstsilence of your suffering to hear the voice of God and to sense His presence when all heaven seems like brass, and when it seems as though God is nowhere to be found?
One of the single greatest realities surrounding the Old Testament book of Job is Job’s ability to not only understand God, but also his ability to explain God. If and as you read the words which Job spoke to his friends you almost get the sense that Job wondered if he truly knew the God whom he worshipped and the God whom he feared. This is in all reality one of the greatest struggles that we find in the midst of the suffering we experience as the saints of God, for there are countless times when in the midst of our suffering our understanding and our knowledge of God can and will be called into question. Perhaps one of the most revealing truths contained within the Old Testament book of Job is truly knowing who God is as we enter into suffering, and truly recognizing His nature and His character as we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, or even as we are walking through the valley of weeping. I fully and completely recognize that more often than not during our times of suffering it is incredibly difficult to hear the voice of the living God, and even to sense and experience His presence, and it is for this reason I am absolutely convinced that we must needs understand—and truly understand within the depths of our heart and spirit who the LORD our God truly is. With that being said, I feel compelled to emphatically declare that there are elements of God’s divine nature that are revealed within and through suffering, and there are certain things which God can and will show to you in the midst of your suffering. At the risk of getting ahead of myself I must explain that as you come to the final chapters of the Old Testament book of Job you will not only find Job’s voice silenced, but you will also find the voices of his three friends silenced as the living and eternal God breaks through the noice, breaks through the commotion, breaks through the chaos, breaks through the confusion, breaks through all the debates and questions and speaks in a way that only God Himself can do. If you continue reading the Old Testament book of Job you can and will find the narrative of the living God—not breaking through the silence, for it would have been one thing for the living God to speak at the end of the seven days and seven nights of silence which was experienced by Job and his three friends. If we had it our way we would have found the living and eternal God speaking after the silence which ensued as a result of Job’s three friends sitting with him on the ground. We would ensure that God not only showed up, and not only spoke, but also directly and immediately intervened at the end of those seven days and seven nights of silence. The truth of the matter, however, is that the LORD didn’t show up, and He didn’t respond at the end of those seven days and seven nights of suffering. At the end of that time period of silence between Job and his three friends it was Job who broke the silence as God continued to remain silence.
THE STRUGGLE TO BREAK THE SILENCE WHEN GOD REMAINS SILENT! If there is one thing I find absolutely astounding regarding the Old Testament book of Job it’s that at the end and conclusion of those seven days and seven nights of silence, it wasn’t the LORD who responded and Job was silent, but it was Job who broke the silence as the LORD remained silent. Oh, I have to ask what you do and how you respond when such a reality presents itself within your life. How do you respond when you have spent time silent before the LORD, silent within yourself, and even silent in the company of others, and at the end of that period of silence it is you that breaks the silence while God remains silent—even distant and absent. The question I can’t help but ask when reading these words is what caused Job to choose to break that silence and speak up in the company of his friends. There is not a doubt in my mind that Job thought the company of his friends was a safe place to voice his complaint and voice his grief, and yet what he would ultimately find out was that the company of his friends would be completely and utterly filled with chaos, confusion, questions, commotion, condemnation, judgment, and so much more. I firmly believe that Job spoke up after those seven days and seven nights of silence because he thought it was safe to speak his grief and anguish in the company of his friends, and thought that it would be a safe haven for him to unburden his heart and soul. The interesting thing about it the narrative of Job’s suffering is that not only did he break the silence in the company of his friends thinking they would be a source of comfort and consolation, but he would find and discover that God would be silent, absent and distant while his friends would be condemning, accusatory, and judgmental. How absolutely tragic this reality truly is when you take the time to think about it, for after spending seven days and seven nights sitting in silence with his three friends Job undoubtedly thought that he would be able to freely speak and unburden his heart and soul, only to find condemnation, accusations and judgment on the other end. What do you do when God appears to be silent, absent and distant, and what you seem to find in His place are the voices of condemnation, accusation, judgment, criticism, chaos and confusion? Job was a man who experienced a tremendous amount of suffering at the hands of the adversary “all that he hath is in your hand,” and in the midst of that suffering he found himself not only seeking to understand God, but also seeking to defend himself and whatever righteousness he thought he possessed. We cannot afford to miss this, for more often than not in the midst of our suffering we find ourselves in perhaps uncharted territory as we not only seek to understand and know who God truly is, but also as we seek to understand who we are.
What I find to be so absolutely and incredibly interesting about the narrative of Job’s suffering is that after seven days of silence between Job and his three friends it wasn’t the LORD who broke the silence, but it was Job himself who broke the silence. I can’t help but wonder what the expectation was within the heart of Job as he would break the silence after seven days and seven nights of silence, and began expressing his grief, his anguish and his agony. Undoubtedly Job thought and believed he could voice his complaint before and in the company of his three friends who had made an appointment to mourn with him and comfort him, and yet what he would find was anything but that. The entire dialogue that took place between Job and his three friends was such where they not only sought to explain God to Job, but also sought to pronounce Job as somehow being unrighteous and unfaithful in the sight of that same God. For Job’s three friends it was absolutely clear and obvious that Job was himself guilty of sin and transgression before and in the sight of the living God, and that was the underlying reason for the suffering he was experiencing. For Job’s three friends there was some secret and presumptuous sin that was found within Job’s life—even if Job himself wasn’t aware of it—and it was that presumptuous sin that was causing Job to experience and undergo this tremendous suffering. Little did either Job or his friends know and understand the dialogue which first took place between the LORD and Satan the adversary in heaven—not once but twice. Little did Job and his three friends know that the LORD not only pronounced Job perfect and upright in the sight of the sons of God and before Satan, but the LORD would do so twice. What’s more, is the LORD would speak of Job and declare that he was one who feared God and shunned evil, and when making this declaration a second time the LORD would declare how Job still maintained his integrity before and in the sight of the living God—even after Satan had incited Him against him without cause. The narrative and dialogue of Job’s sufferings which took place between he and his friends was such that struggled to understand and explain God, and in all reality—if we are truly being honest with ourselves, we must admit that we do the same thing. How many times have we experienced suffering and affliction within our hearts and lives, and in the midst of that suffering we not only try and understand the living God, but we also try to explain the living God? How many times do we in the midst of our suffering seek to explain God—and not only explain God, but also explain why we are going through what we are going through?
Isn’t it absolutely amazing and incredible that when you find yourself in the midst of suffering and affliction others around you seem to be experts in suffering? What’s more, is that isn’t amazing that in the midst of your suffering those around you—regardless of whether they are close friends or mere acquaintances will seem to come out of the woodworks in order to somehow explain your suffering and the nature and character of God? We would like to think that this simply isn’t the case, and yet the the truth of the matter is that the more we consider suffering—regardless of whether it’s our own personal suffering, or whether it’s the suffering of others around the world—we not only seek to explain the nature and character of the living God, but we also seek to explain the suffering itself. How many times do men and women look upon and behold all the suffering that takes place around the world and question how and why a loving God would and could allow suffering in the first place? How many times do men and women look at and examine all the suffering that takes place in the world and then form assumptions about God, or even try and explain God through their own knowledge and experiences? When Job and his three friends dialogued about the suffering of Job both parties sought to not only profess their own understanding of God, but both parties also sought to seek to understand the reason and purpose behind Job’s suffering. The truth of the matter is that regardless of what Job thought or believed, and regardless of what his friends themselves thought or believed—neither one knew the true purpose and reason for the suffering Job was experiencing. Neither Job, nor his three friends could definitively and authoritatively spoken of and declared the reason and purpose behind the suffering of Job and why he was walking through the valley he was walking. What’s more, is that in the midst of this dialogue there were more than one assumption that was made concerning and regarding the suffering of Job, as his friends thought for sure they were the ultimate authority on his suffering, as well as the reason behind it. In fact, I would dare say that there was little doubt within the hearts and minds of Job’s three friends as they sought to explain away the suffering of Job, as they not only thought but also believed that they could emphatically declare why Job was experiencing and walking through what he was. We must realize that since the time of Job things have not changed at all in the slightest bit, and just as Job’s three friends thought they were the ultimate authority on the suffering of Job, so also have men and women thought that they themselves were and are the ultimate authority on the suffering we experience within our lives.
One of the greatest questions I find myself asking as I am writing these words is whether or not understand the reason and purpose behind your suffering would in fact make any difference within your heart and life. Should the living and eternal God speak unto you and reveal the true purpose behind the suffering you experienced—would it at all make a difference, and would it give you any more peace in the midst of it? We tend to think and believe that our understanding of the nature, the purpose and the reason for our suffering is somehow needed, and yet the truth of the matter is that the LORD has never and will never promise we can and/or will understand the reason and purpose behind suffering. The LORD has never promised us that on this side of eternity we can and will understand the purpose behind our suffering beyond that it is set to try us and work in us a far greater measure and weight of glory. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that suffering is indeed meant to try us, and is meant to work within us patience, work within us endurance, and work within us long suffering. Despite the fact that we might never truly know and understand the reason behind the suffering we experience we have to recognize and understand that suffering always has a reason and a purpose behind it. What makes the suffering of Job so absolutely intriguing and astonishing is when you think about the fact that the LORD never revealed unto Job the reason behind his suffering, and the reason why he lost all his possessions, the reason why all but four of his servants were killed, and why all ten of his children died. I can’t help but get the strong sense that understanding the why of suffering is not as important as understanding the who of suffering. More often than not we want to understand the why—the reason and purpose—behind our suffering, and yet the truth of the matter is that the LORD has never been concerned with revealing unto us the why behind suffering, for the why has never been and will never be as great as the who of suffering. What I mean by this is that it is not as important that we understand why we suffered as much as it is important we understand the One who allowed us to suffer in the first place. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—what good is understanding why you suffered in the first place if you don’t understand, or even know the LORD God who allowed you to suffer in the first place? What’s more, is that long after your suffering has come and gone there will be one underlying truth and reality that will remain, and that is whether or not, and even how well you know the living God.
SUFFERING COMES AND GOES, BUT IT’S THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LIVING GOD THAT REMAINS AND SUSTAINS YOU MOVING FORWARD! The more I read and the more I study the Old Testament book of Job and the more I think about and consider the narrative of the suffering he faced and experienced the more I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the absolutely astounding reality that suffering has always and will always come and go, and yet one thing that should always remain is the knowledge of the holy. I am absolutely and completely convinced that in the midst of the suffering one of the greatest things we can receive is a knowledge of the holy, and one of the greatest questions I find myself asking is what does your knowledge of the holy look like right now at this very moment? I firmly believe that it has never been and it will never be as important to understand the reason, the purpose and the why behind suffering as much as it is understanding the divine nature and character of the eternal and living God. What’s more, is that I would dare say that if we devote our time, our effort and our energy to understanding why we went through the things we went through, and why we experienced the suffering we did rather than seeking to understand the living and eternal God we have majored on the minor and minored on the major. Understanding the reason and purpose behind suffering can never, should never, and will never be the most important reality within your life, for it must always be your knowledge of the holy and your knowledge of the living and eternal God that is the most important and the most relevant reality within our hearts and lives. I would dare say that if you devote your time, effort and energy in seeking to understand the nature, the purpose and the reason for your suffering and the things you have gone through you have missed the entire point of the suffering, for suffering has always and should always bring you closer to the living and eternal God. If I am being honest with you I must emphatically declare that if you seek and somehow expect to be blessed on the other side of the suffering, and if you seek to understand the reason and purpose behind the suffering rather than and above the knowledge of the living God you are missing the entire point and purpose of the suffering. With that being said, I am absolutely and completely convinced that in the midst of suffering it is entirely and altogether healthy to wrestle with the nature and character of the living God. There is not a doubt in my mind that wrestling with the nature and character of the living God is absolutely necessary and healthy in order for us to truly understand and truly know the living God of heaven and earth.
It’s worth noting that in the midst of the suffering which Job experienced he was the one who broke the silence after spending seven days and seven nights sitting in silence with his friends, as his friends did not speak a word to him. It was after those seven days and seven nights that Job broke the silence and broke it with his complaint, his grief, his anguish, and his agony. What I find myself sitting here thinking about and considering as I write these words is that there are those among us who do not know how to handle true suffering, nor can they understand true anguish, true agony, and true grief. There are those who have a very difficult time with vulnerability—particularly in the midst of suffering—and can and will seek to not only explain suffering, but will also seek to explain the nature of God. Undoubtedly during and in the midst of the suffering of Job his three friends used his suffering as means to not only preach their knowledge and understanding of God, but also to explain away the reason and purpose behind Job’s suffering. If and as you read the words which are written and recorded within the entirety of the Old Testament book of Job you will encounter and come face to face with the fact that after Job broke the silence at the end of seven days and seven nights of silence Job broke the silence by expressing his grief, his anguish and his sorrow, and his friends sought to capitalize on that and not only preach their own theology concerning the living God, but also engage in psychology in attempting to explain the reason and purpose behind the suffering of Job. Much of what we find and read in this Old Testament book of Job deals with a tremendous dialogue which took place between Job and his three friends as his three friends sought to preach their theology concerning God—almost as if they sought to somehow convert him. Each of Job’s three friends sought and desired to explain God, as well as to explain suffering to Job, and sought to somehow bring Job into the place where he would perhaps come to know the error of his ways, and would see things from their point of view. What’s so intriguing about the dialogue that is found in the book of Job is that the dialogue would take place between Job and three distinct and three different voices—each which would have their own take and their own spin on who God was, and why Job was experiencing the suffering he was experiencing. With three friends keeping Job company there would undoubtedly be three different opinions and three different viewpoints concerning who God was and why Job was experiencing the suffering he was.
CONTRADICTING VIEWS IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING! CONFUSING VIEWS IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING! What is so absolutely astounding when and as you read the words which are written and recorded in the Old Testament book of Job is when you consider that with three different friends who were each with Job in the midst of his suffering there would be three different opinions—not only concerning the nature and character of God, but also concerning the nature and character of the suffering of Job. What’s more, is that these three viewpoints and these three opinions wouldn’t always be identical and one and the same, and would in fact contradict and be contrary to each other. One thing, however, is absolutely and entirely clear when reading the Old Testament book of Job and that is simply that the words of Job’s friends would sow seeds of confusion and chaos into his heart and mind, as each sought to speak as an authority on the subject of the nature and character of God, as well as on the nature and character of suffering itself. Isn’t it amazing how in the midst of suffering there will always be those who can and will seek to explain their views, their opinions, their thoughts, and yes—even their revelations? Suffering has always been one of the greatest opportunities for idealistic and impressionistic individuals to capitalize on suffering and spread their own “wisdom” and their own “understanding” concerning what is taking place, and the reason behind it. Even now during this current society and generation in which we are living there are those who seek to explain the reason behind everything that is going on, and the reason and purpose for it. During this current time in which we are living there are those who will use this as an opportunity to voice their opinions, those who will use this to preach their own doctrines, and those who will use this as a means to spread their own ideals, values, and the like. Social media is entirely and altogether lit up right now during this time with everything that is going on, and I can’t help but wonder what Job’s suffering would have looked like in the day and age of social media. What would and what could Job’s suffering have looked like if it somehow found its way on Twitter? What would and could Job’s suffering have looked like if it somehow found its way onto Facebook? What’s more, is I can’t help but wonder what Job’s suffering could have been like if it had somehow made its way onto Instagram. What comments would have been posted on his feed, and what messages would have found its way into his inbox on these platforms and outlets?
I sit here this evening and I find myself being confronted with the fact that the suffering of Job was more than simply the loss of his possessions, was more than simply the loss of his servants, was more than just the loss of his children, and was more than simply the physical struggles he faced with sore boils all over his body. I am absolutely convinced that the suffering of Job was not merely about the suffering itself, but was about the struggle and conflict that oftentimes ensues in the midst of the suffering as we find ourselves wrestling with the Idenity and nature of the living God. I can’t help but be reminded of the narrative of the storm which came upon the disciples in the midst of the sea while Jesus was asleep in the midst of the boat. If you read the narrative of this particular event you will find that the disciples were in the boat with Jesus, and that a great temptest and storm rose up in the midst of the sea threatening to drown them. In the midst of the storm Jesus was asleep in the midst of the boat completely unaffected by the wind and the waves that were raging all around them. While the disciples cried out unto Jesus in the midst of the storm out of fear that they would drown in the midst of the sea, Jesus rose up in the midst of the storm and rebuked the storm with the wind and the waves. Once Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves everything became perfectly still and calm there in the midst of the sea. What is so incredibly interesting about this particular narrative is when you think about the fact that after the disciples watched Jesus wake up in the midst of the storm, rise up in the midst of the storm, and speak up in the midst of the storm—not only did the wind and the waves obey Him, and not only did the sea become as still as glass, but the disciples were also in complete and utter shock and disbelief concerning this One who was in the boat with them. The narrative that is found in the gospel accounts is truly awe-inspiring, for not only did the disciples experience Jesus speaking to the storm and bringing it to a complete calm, but they also experienced a great and wonderful revelation concerning this Jesus whom they walked with and followed. WAKE UP! RISE UP! SPEAK UP! Consider if you will the words which are found within the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, and what took place—not only within the lives of the disciples, but also within the life of Jesus the Christ Himself in the midst of the storm:
“And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him. And, behold, there arose a great temptest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but He was asleep. And His disciples came to him, and awoke Him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And He saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27).
“And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35-41).
WOKE UP! ROSE UP! SPOKE UP! As you read the words which are written and recorded within these two passages you will quickly encounter the tremendous reality that it was Jesus Himself who encouraged the disciples to get into the ship, and it was the disciples who followed Jesus into the ship. We dare not and cannot miss and lose sight of this reality, for the disciples followed Jesus into the ship, and by following Jesus into the ship they found themselves in the midst of a great storm and tempest. WHEN FOLLOWING JESUS LEADS YOU STRAIGHT INTO A STORM! WHEN A STORM AWAITS YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUR FOLLOWING HIM! It’s incredibly captivating to think about and consider the fact that the disciples entered into the ship with Jesus the Christ, and there in the midst of the ship Jesus actually fell asleep in the hinder part of the boat. There were the disciples who followed Jesus into the ship laboring and toiling to bring the ship to the other side, and there in the midst of the sea a great storm and tempest broke out against the ship—and so much so that the waves crashed over the bough of the boat and filled it with water. There were the disciples in the midst of the sea in a ship which they had followed Jesus into, and they found themselves laboring and toiling to survive the storm. What’s more, is that there was Jesus asleep in the hinder part of the boat experiencing complete and utter rest in the midst of a storm that raged all around them. As I read this particular passage I can’t help but think about the fact that it would be easy to focus all our attention on Jesus speaking up in the midst of the storm, and yet there is something else that is demonstrated in the midst of this particular narrative—namely, Jesus’ ability to sleep in the midst of the storm. The question I find myself asking when I read this particular passage of Scripture is what is the greater of the two miracles which Jesus performed in the midst of the storm—speaking to the storm that all was made calm, or sleeping in the midst of the storm because all was calm in Him? SPEAKING TO THE STORM BRINGING EVERYTHING TO CALM, SLEEPING IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS CALM INSIDE YOU! I would dare say that Jesus’ sleeping in the boat in the midst of the storm demonstrates the tremendous calm, the tremendous peace, the tremendous rest, the tremendous confidence He had in who His Father was—and not only who His Father was, but also who He was as the eternal Son of the eternal Father.
We would like to get all excited when reading this passage as we find Jesus waking up in the midst of the storm, standing up in the midst of the storm, and speaking up in the midst of the storm, and yet before any of this takes place we find Jesus sleeping in the storm. While on the surface it might not seem like Jesus’ sleeping in the midst of the storm has any significance for us within our lives, it’s imperative that we recognize and understand that there are those times when Jesus can and may very well calm the storm itself, and there are other times when Jesus chooses to calm His child instead. What we see within this passage concerning Jesus’ sleeping in the midst of the storm is something that is truly remarkable and astounding, for think about what could have allowed Jesus to sleep in the midst of the storm. When Jesus slept in the hinder part of the boat, He slept in the midst of the waves which crashed over and upon the boat. When Jesus slept in the hinder part of the boat, He slept in the midst of the wind that howled and raged all around both He and the disciples. When Jesus slept in the hinder part of the boat, He slept through and in the midst of the rain that continued to come down upon them. Stop for a moment and think about this passage of Scripture and how there are those who would choose to highlight the fact that Jesus spoke to the storm and the wind ceased and there was a great calm, however, I am convinced that what was even greater than Jesus speaking up in the midst of, and speaking to the storm was Jesus sleeping in the midst of the storm. We would like to think and consider the fact that Jesus’ speaking to the storm was the greatest miracle found within this passage of Scripture, and yet I am convinced that it takes great strength, it takes great confidence, it takes great faith, and it takes great assurance to actually sleep in the midst of the storm. In all reality, I would dare say that although the words of Jesus demonstrated His authority over the storm, His sleeping in the midst of the storm demonstrated the rest that can be found in the midst of the storm. Jesus’ words demonstrated that He could speak to the storm and all would be calm, and yet His being in the hinder part of the boat demonstrated the tremendous ability to sleep in the midst of the storm. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and remarkable reality, for this reality demonstrates something that must be learned within our own lives—something that very few recognize and even realize within their own hearts and lives. D
Within this particular narrative found within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ we can clearly see Him standing up in the midst of the storm, and we can clearly see Him speaking up in the midst of the same storm, but what we more often than not fail to see and witness is Jesus’ ability to sleep in the storm. Jesus’ speaking to the storm does in fact demonstrate His authority over the storms we face in life, and His speaking up in the midst of the storm demonstrates His authority and ability to speak in the midst of the storm, and yet I firmly believe that His sleeping in the midst of the storm demonstrates something far greater and far more powerful. Perhaps the best way to put this particular point is simply this—Could you sleep in the midst of the storm(s) you are facing? Could you sleep in the midst of the storm(s) you have faced within and throughout your life? Have you been able to live in such a place of peace, such a place of rest, such a place of quietness and trust in the living and eternal God that despite the storm that rages all around you you are able to sleep in the midst of—perhaps even through the storm itself? We allow ourselves to get so caught up in the fact that Jesus spoke to the storm, and it was after Jesus spoke to the storm, and it was after the wind and the waves ceased and all became calm that the disciples said to one another, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” In all reality, I would dare say that Jesus spoke to the storm that the storm might know that it had no authority or place over He and His disciples, but He spoke unto the disciples that they might know and understand that the same faith which allowed Him to sleep in the midst of the boat was the same faith that would allow them to also sleep in the midst of the storm. Let me ask you dear brother and sister—what takes and what requires greater faith within your heart and soul? Does it require more faith to sleep in the midst of the storm, or does it take more faith to stand up in the midst of the storm and speak to it? Which one of these actions do you think demonstrated the greater measure of faith in the midst of the storm? In all reality, I would dare say that it was Jesus’ sleeping that demonstrated His faith, while it was His speaking to the storm that demonstrated His authority in the midst of, and His authority over the storm. Oh, we might never stand up and speak to the storm, and we may never see the wind and the waves die down, yet there is one thing that is absolutely certain, and one thing that is absolutely sure—namely, that we can sleep in the midst of the storm, and sleep peacefully and soundly.
I sit here tonight and feel compelled to emphatically declare to you that you might never stand up in the midst of the storm(s) you face in your life, however, it is absolutely possible that you can sleep in the midst of the storm. You might never wake from your slumber, you might never rise from your place in the midst of the ship, and you might never stand in the midst of the storm and speak to it and watch the wind and the waves come to a still, however, you can sleep in the midst of the storm. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture that the greatest of the two actions of Jesus was actually something that wasn’t any action at all. I am absolutely convinced that more often than not it is Jesus’ inaction that demonstrates something far greater and far more powerful than His actions might. We read this particular narrative and we do in fact find Jesus speaking to the storm and causing the wind and the waves to be brought to a complete still and calm, and yet even before the sea was calm it was Jesus Himself who was calm. Even before the storm itself would experience peace and rest we find Jesus Himself being calm and at rest within Himself. Think about what it would take in order to be at complete peace and complete rest in the midst of a storm that rages all around you. Think about what it would take for you in the midst of any storm that rages all around you right now to not only sleep, but sleep soundly. I do not believe for one minute that Jesus slept casually or lightly in the midst of the storm, but was able to sleep peacefully there in the hinder part of the ship. It’s interesting and worth noting that it wasn’t the wind and the waves which woke Jesus from His slumber, but it was the cries of His disciples which actually woke up from His slumber. It was the cries of His disciples that woke Him from His slumber, and yet it was the wind and the waves which caused Him to speak up in the midst of the storm. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that one of the greatest places in the midst of the storm, and one of the greatest places to be in the midst of the suffering is to be able to sleep in the midst of and within it.
We read these two accounts of the same encounter between Jesus and His disciples, and we like to focus all our attention on the fact that Jesus stood up and spoke up in the midst of the storm, and that all became calm and still, and yet I am absolutely and completely convinced that this isn’t even the greatest part of the narrative. Jesus’ speaking up in the midst of, and Jesus’ speaking to the storm demonstrates His authority and ability to bring the storms which we face in this life to a complete and utter calm, and yet it was His sleeping in the midst of the storm that provides the greatest lesson for us within our hearts and lives. We know that Jesus can do His part to calm the storms within our lives, and can cause all to be brought to a place of stillness and rest, yet there is something about us ourselves being calm, us ourselves being at rest, us ourselves being at peace in the midst of the storm(s) that rage all around us—and so much so that we are actually able to sleep in the midst of the storm. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—when was the last you slept in the storm? When was the last time you slept peacefully in the midst of the storm you faced? When was the last time you slept soundly in the midst of the storm which you faced within your life—almost as if nothing at all was taking place before and around you? Have you ever been able to sleep peacefully and soundly in the midst of the storm without at all being overwhelmed by the wind and the waves before and all around you? Have you ever been able to sleep in the midst of the storm as the wind and the waves might even threaten (or seem to threaten) your very existence? Jesus’ sleeping in the midst of the storm demonstrates the absolutely wonderful and remarkable ability we as the people of God have to be at such peace, be at such rest, be at such calm within ourselves that we can sleep in the midst of the storm—even if the storm seems as though it can and will destroy us and everything we have. Jesus was able to sleep in the midst of the storm, and I am convinced that it takes greater faith to sleep in the storm than it does to speak to the storm. The disciples spoke of Jesus as One whom even the wind and the waves obeyed, and yet I find myself reading this passage and saying, “What manner of man is this, that even He is able to sleep in the midst of the storm?” While we might very well ask what manner of this man was that He might sleep in the midst of the storm, we have to ask ourselves what manner of man are we, and/or what manner of woman are we that we ourselves are able to sleep in the midst of the storm?
WHAT MANNER OF MAN CAN SLEEP IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM? WHAT MANNER OF WOMAN CAN SLEEP IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM? As I bring this writing to a close I am absolutely and completely gripped by the fact that the disciples asked what manner of man this was that even the wind and the sea obey Him, however, what we must realize and recognize within our hearts and lives is what manner of men and what manner of women we ought to be that we are able to sleep in the midst of the storm. Would it shock and surprise you to hear and understand that it is possible that you can sleep in the midst of the storm? Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that it is possible to have such a peace within your soul, such a calm within your spirit, and such a rest within your heart that you can lie yourself down to sleep, and can sleep in the midst of a storm? I do not believe for a single moment that the reality which we find within this passage is at all unattainable, for I believe that it is without a doubt possible for us as the saints and people of God to sleep in the midst of the storm, and to sleep peacefully therein. I do not believe that Jesus was the only one who could sleep in the midst of the storm, and that it is possible for us as His disciples to in fact sleep in the midst of the storm—despite the fact that the wind and the waves might rage and roar all around us. There is not a doubt in my mind that this is somehow unattainable, and is somehow something that cannot be experienced within our hearts and lives, for I am absolutely convinced that even when it seems like all hell is breaking loose in our lives and all around us we can find and be in that place of rest that we can sleep in the midst of everything that rages all around us. We might never be called to stand up and speak up in the midst of the storm that the wind and the waves become still before us, however, we can be called to sleep in the midst of the storm having full confidence, having full assurance, and having full faith in the living and eternal God within our lives? In all reality, I am convinced that this was what was so absolutely powerful about Jesus’ question to the disciples, for He first spoke to their fear, and He then spoke to their faith (or lack thereof). It is my prayer as you read the words of this writing that you recognize and understand that in order to sleep in the midst of the storm—it is not only a matter of fear, but it is also a matter of faith. It is possible to sleep in the midst of the storm, however, to be able to sleep in the midst of the storm does in fact require fear to be cast aside and cast out of your soul, and faith to rise up within your heart and your soul. Jesus not only asked the disciples why they were so fearful, but He also asked how they could have no faith. Oh that there would be disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ who are not only able to sleep in the midst of the storm, but who are also able to wake up, stand up and speak up in the midst of the storm(s) which rage all around us, thus bringing peace and cal—not only into their own lives, but into the lives of those who are before and all around them.