“Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundation of the earth?” You have heard it in Sunday School, you were taught it in confirmation. You can open your Bible and read all about it. It isn’t a mystery, it isn’t something hidden. “Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning?” It is God who created all things, not man. It is God who separated the waters to create land, it is God who stretched out the heavens to cover this earth, it is God who created plants and animals, it is God who gave man dominion over them. God “makes princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.” No man is greater than the God of all creation. He stands over and above history, and He has acted in history, to build nations up, and to bring them back down. He has destroyed nations before, judging them for their wickedness, and He can do so again. “Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when He blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.” Surely all flesh is grass before the Lord. We all wither, and we all fade away.
“‘To whom will you compare me, that I should be like Him?’ says the Holy One.” We were like Him, created in the very image and likeness of God, but through our rebellion, we lost that great gift; now we are conceived and born in the image of sin and death. God is ‘other,’ unlike us in power and might, unlike us in holiness. Surely we are the grasshoppers, and He sits above the circle of the earth. But He looks down upon us, small and insignificant, and He knows us, He knows each of His creatures. “Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of His might and because He is strong in power not one is missing.” He knows His creation by name, and not one is missing, because He holds all in His loving hands.
Why do you say, O Kiron, and speak, O Deloit, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? The Scriptures proclaim to you that God has created all things, that He sustains all things, that He knows each of His creatures intimately, by name. But, you say, if God knows me and cares for me, why do I suffer as I do? Why do I suffer from disease, why does death stalk my steps? Why do I have conflicts with family and friends, why am I estranged from them? Why do I struggle with addiction, why can’t I rid myself of this sin? Why was the one I love taken away from me? I suffer each and every day! I suffer for no reason at all, and God doesn’t seem to be able to give me an answer. He doesn’t know my ways; He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know my problems, He doesn’t know my struggles. God doesn’t understand me, and so He can’t help me. He’s powerless to intervene in this world, and so I am left alone, left to solve these problems through my own efforts. My way is hidden from Him, He can’t help me in my suffering.
Or maybe He won’t help me. Maybe God is completely capable of intervening, and He refuses to do so. “My right is disregarded by my God.” He has disregarded my affliction; He could act to deliver me, and He won’t. He refuses to hear my prayers; Lord, I prayed to you, and you didn’t act! You didn’t heal, you didn’t restore, you didn’t save. You could’ve, but you didn’t. Why do you refuse to act? Maybe it’s simply that my problems are too small to matter to the eternal God. “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.” The problems of grasshoppers don’t matter much to the gardener, and so my problems must not matter too much to you. You can help, but you won’t. You are too great to care about my suffering, and Lord, I am suffering! “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God.” I don’t know whether you can’t help or you won’t help, but the result is the same; I suffer without relief!
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” The Lord set the planets in motion, He placed the stars in the sky. His power extends over the wind and the waves. He watches over nations, He even creates life in the womb. He who has done all that is not powerless; He can help in our affliction because nothing lies outside His power. “He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.” You cannot investigate the mind of God. His ways are not our ways, because we are unlike Him. We are not given the answers to our suffering; we do not know why turmoil and struggles enter our lives. We are not God; He is. “‘To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him?’ says the Holy One.” You are tempted to try to be like God when you suffer, to demand answers from Him, to put Him on trial. “Why are you allowing this to happen? What is your plan here?” But you are not God, you are a creature, and for creatures “His understanding is unsearchable.” You are called upon rather to trust, to wait, to leave the answers in the hands of the One who created you.
For our Creator can help, and our Creator will help. “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint.” You are weary because of your suffering, but God never grows weary. The greatest athlete, the most savvy businessman, the hardest working politician will all eventually faint, collapsing under the load of their burdens, but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, “they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint.” They are connected with the God who endures, the God who does not grow weary. They receive strength as they suffer, because they wait on the Lord. We don’t like to wait, we don’t like to be patient, we want deliverance now, and we want it on our terms. When we are suffering, patience seems nearly impossible. But you aren’t waiting in the hope that God might act, you are waiting for the God who can deliver you and who will deliver you; in fact, you are waiting on the God who has delivered you.
“Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundation of the earth?” God’s solution to your suffering is Jesus. He came in answer to your cries, in response to your afflictions. He came to solve your suffering, to relieve it forever. He came as God in the flesh. “He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in” located Himself in a human body, He condescended to became like you in order to deliver you from suffering. The Lord and Creator of all was born in a stable and laid in a manger. Jesus came in humility, not in His power and might.
God’s “understanding is unsearchable.” If we were God, we wouldn’t have come down in humility, and we certainly wouldn’t have solved suffering by suffering ourselves. But that is what Jesus did; He answered our suffering with His own. He hung upon that cross for hours, enduring not only the pain and humiliation of that instrument of torture, but also the naked wrath of God, poured out upon Him. Our suffering is caused by the sin of this world; our own sin and the sin of those around us. Upon the cross Jesus endured the penalty for that sin, forgiving the sin of the entire world through His own suffering. Our suffering is also caused by the reign of death over us and our loved ones. Jesus’ death destroyed the power of death, because His death was in your place. When Jesus rose on Easter Sunday, the causes of our suffering- sin, death, and the devil- were all defeated. He suffered so that your suffering would one day end. You do not look to your own suffering to know what God thinks of you; you look to Christ’s suffering, and there you learn the richness of God’s love for you, a love which sustains you as you suffer.
And so you wait for the end of your suffering, not with some vague hope that God might relieve it, but instead in the sure and certain hope that because of Christ God will ultimately deliver you. “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint.” Christ gives you strength in the midst of your suffering through His great gifts. That is why He gives you the Scriptures, that is why He gives you the forgiveness of sins, that is why He feeds you with His very own Body and Blood. You wait in patience because God has already acted to deliver you; because the suffering of Jesus is the solution to your suffering. You wait in patience because not only is God able to deliver you, He will deliver you. Your God isn’t too great to care, He is too great to fail, and He has already saved you by setting aside that greatness and humbly suffering for you.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard?” Your suffering will end in the new heavens and the new earth that Jesus won for you. In our suffering, we learn to give up all reliance on ourselves, to place ourselves in the hands of Jesus, and we especially learn to yearn for the life He gives. In the new heavens and the new earth, there will be no more weariness, no more suffering. Your burdens will be no more, for Jesus has relieved them through His precious blood. There you will dwell in peace and safety, with sin paid for and death destroyed forever. There “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Amen.