Scripture: Job 39:1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you observe the calving of the deer? 2 Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, 3 when they crouch to give birth to their offspring, and are delivered of their young? 4 Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open; they go forth, and do not return to them.
Observation: After spending an entire chapter 38 clarifying his dominion over all things, God continues in chapter 39. There is question after question God poses to Job – all of which have an implied answer from Job. “No”. No Job does not “know when the mountain goats give birth” (v.1) No, Job does not “observe the calving of the deer” (v.1). With every question from God and every implied “no”, God drives the point home. Job has neither understanding nor agency.
Application: This passage is an important reality check for me this morning. All my striving and working and “making things happen” is simply an illusion. I am active, for sure, but I control very little. Like Job I stand at the mercy of powers far beyond me. And there are times, like Job, when I want an explanation. Why does illness and disease overcome people I love? Why do my plans, ostensibly executed for the glory of God, fail to be fruitful? Why do I desperately seek to embody the ways of God and so consistently fall short? At the end of things I am confronted with the reality that I am part of creation, not Creator. I have neither understanding nor agency. And while there is often frustration over this reality, there is also freedom. The worries and cares of this life are not mine to “fix” as I so often try – and fail – to do. The timing of things, the seasons of life which come and go, are not mine to determine. As the apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:
8 Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
Prayer: Gracious God, give me grace to embrace my weakness so that your power may reveal itself through me. Amen.