Who is your hope in?

Veronica Burlock, Worship Pastor, Wheaton | April 5, 2024

Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish. His confidence is severed, and his trust is a spider’s web. He leans against his house, but it does not stand; he lays hold of it, but it does not endure.
Job 8:13-15

Today’s passage is found in Job and is from his “friend” Bildad. He was visiting Job, who was at his lowest point in life. He had lost his family and business, and his health was declining—all at the same time. Job’s friends are not known to be a helpful lot. And yet, in the midst of his suffering, Job clings to the truth he proclaimed at the beginning of the book, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and he takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). That is hope. 

It is inevitable that we will have seasons in life when we experience suffering, and God seems silent despite all our efforts. I can relate to Job on a much smaller scale. Last year, I lost my home for a month to rodents. Before you roll your eyes at me, you must know that I have trauma around this matter. At one point in my childhood, my family of ten fell on very hard times, and my mom’s friend took us in. She lived in Chicago in a terrible area infested with rats. We slept on the floor of her basement, and I have vivid memories of trembling as I closed my eyes and prayed that nothing would be on my chest to greet me in the morning. So when I saw that brown, furry, bug-eyed creature on my kitchen floor staring back at me, I was five years old again. Trembling. 

At the same time as the rodent infestation, I was working overtime, meeting with my volunteers, serving at other local churches to help spread the love of Christ through song, and pouring into teenage girls. I had even turned my room into a prayer room to meet with God daily. I was working hard for the Lord while spending quality time with Him, and this happened?! I was disappointed. 

The question of why comes up again and again in life, even as it did for Job. Shawn Williams once said, “Jesus never responds with what. He often responds with who—Himself.” I was discouraged, triggered, and angry. And the only thing I could do was go to my heavenly Father and tell him I was disappointed in Him. That is hope. 

In hindsight, God had me at my sister’s house for that month to be a positive influence in her life and to help her focus back on her kingdom purpose. In hindsight, my prayer life catapulted from pretty and polite prayers to nitty gritty real prayers. As I continued to pray, Jesus began to change me. I was beginning to see why God had me at my sisters, and I had full confidence that He would restore my place back to me. He did, and if you read to the ending of Job’s story, God restored Job’s fortunes and doubled his previous possessions (Job 42:10).

Next Steps

We have a God who feels, hears, listens, and speaks. What hope do we have apart from God? If you’re suffering in the midst of trying to live for the Lord, go to Him, your living hope. He will never fail you. If you are in a season of suffering, don’t shy away from going directly to Him with how you feel and what you see. He will listen, and He will respond.