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Root & Vine in the Word

Where Were You When I Created the Earth?

And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said: “Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? Pull yourself together, Job! Up on your feet! Stand tall! I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers. Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much!

Job 38:1-4 MSG

“Was it through your know-how that the hawk learned to fly, soaring effortlessly on thermal updrafts? Did you command the eagle’s flight, and teach her to build her nest in the heights, Perfectly at home on the high cliff face, invulnerable on pinnacle and crag? From her perch she searches for prey,  spies it at a great distance. Her young gorge themselves on carrion; wherever there’s a roadkill, you’ll see her circling.”

Job 39:26-30 MSG

Occasionally I get caught up in the never-ending cycle of news, and anxiety takes hold of me. Perhaps you can relate. There seems to be so much to stress over,   frankly far beyond my control, but  I still get sucked into hours of monologues dissecting how we should feel about the current state of affairs. Outrage! Scandal! We demand answers!

It reminds me a little bit of Job’s friends in the Old Testament. In the midst of Job’s suffering and grief, his pals came around and tried to explain away why all of these bad things happened to him. They offer all kinds of reasons, about 35 chapters of reasons, at the end of which Job is exasperated and exhausted. 

By the end of the news cycle, I feel the same way. Everyone has an answer for the world’s problems, and everyone believes their answer is the right one. I tuck the answer that suits my emotional response into the pocket of my coat so I can pull out that punch line the next time I encounter someone who disagrees with me.

And then God answered Job.

God speaks from the calm eye in the middle of the storm to remind me to stop looking for answers to the questions about why this happened and turn instead to Him. His care of Creation shows that he can be trusted, no matter what storms are brewing. Lose the arrogance of your chosen position, God says, and be humbled. 

God spends the better part of chapters 38-40 pointing out all of the ways He takes care of everything that is made, and so maybe, I should just rest in God’s care myself.

Creation reminds us of our relative size and significance. Through Creation, God humbles our hearts and minds so that we can remember who cares for us and in whom we should put our trust. From within the turmoil of the current storm, find the eye and listen for God in the whirlwind. With a still, small voice, He speaks.

Points of Reflection

  1. How much time do you spend listening to or reading the news each day, and where do you get your news? On social media? On TV? The radio? Newspapers?
  2. Why does God point to Creation to answer Job’s questions about suffering?
  3. Can you recall a time that you’ve sensed the awe and wonder of Creation? How did that moment connect you with God?

For the Kids

  1. What is your favorite animal? How does God take care of that animal?
  2. If God cares for your favorite animal, do you think God cares for you the same way?

Faith / Works 

Find something in nature to observe and sit with it for at least 15 minutes. What do you observe? Journal the ways God cares for Creation: how does it grow? How is it protected? How is it resilient? How is it connected with the rest of creation? How does it interact with its surroundings?

Readings

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert is a book I’ve loved for how closely the narrator pays attention to the natural world. If anyone could make a lifetime of studying moss sound interesting, Elizabeth Gilbert manages it. 

Listen or read online through your local library’s Libby app, or buy on Amazon.com or through a local independent bookstore near you.