When I think about the power of God, I remember a conversation with a friend of mine who is a builder by trade. He and I were working on a Habitat for Humanity house when he talked of how he thought of the power of God much like that of water. As a builder, one of the things he always had to be aware of was what water was going to do – where it was going to go, how to manage it, how to waterproof, etc. He said, however, that water would always win in the end. Water would always eventually wear down the protections we set up and we need to just build more and more. He said that was how he understood the power of God in life – that we try to set up so many things to keep the power of God at bay from coming in and transforming our lives, but God will continue to try to break in. So, when I think of the power of God, I always come back to water.
In Job’s latest words in the section from chapters 11-13, he is once again responding to the accusations of one of his friends who has come to “comfort” him. His friend, Zophar, speaks words that I have heard too many times before when people have been trying to comfort a friend. Verses 13-14 – “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent..you will stand firm and without fear.” Its a way of saying to Job, “just get yourself right with God and everything will be better.” I have heard this too many times to count from people either in a general sense or in particular circumstances when confronted with difficulties.
Job hears this and replies by affirming his understanding of the power of God as he lists off all the examples of God’s unspeakable, beautiful, and potentially terrible power. The ways he speaks of God’s power is ultimately a feeling like that I described about water – a power we can try to push away but ultimately that power will have the last word. This is a comforting thought but one that still reminds me of who ultimately has the final word.