Boundaries for the Sea

In all my years of depression, there have been stretches where the Word of God either did not comfort or did not make sense. Usually both. But one section of Scripture never ceased to speak to me, and that was the book of Job, particularly the chapters where God shows up to Job and speaks. 

On first reading, it appears that Job’s prayers about his pain go nearly unnoticed or unaddressed by God, that God shows up and dismisses Job’s ramblings with a wave of His hand and tells Job what he really ought to know. But the more I read it, the more I think God addressed Job’s sufferings exactly.

In Job 14:19, Job is describing his pain, his suffering, and he likens it to being eroded, drowned, and overwhelmed. Like a rock that’s been carved away by constant wear, he’s about to crumble away, wear away, get washed away and destroyed. I wonder if perhaps this is what God had in mind when He speaks Job 38:8-11.

“Who enclosed the sea with doors…? I placed boundaries on it and set a bolt and doors, and I said, ’Thus far you shall come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves stop.’”

Could it be that God’s words here have a double meaning? Not only does He hold back the seas lest they erode, drown, and overwhelm, but He also puts boundaries on our troubles. Like He did with Satan, saying he could only do so much to Job and no more (Job 1:12, Job 2:6), every time a trouble comes at me, God sets limits on it: Only this far, only this much, only this long. And on the day I reach the marked extent of what God unwillingly has afflicted me with for my good (Lamentations 3:33; Romans 8:28), He rides on the wings of the storm to my rescue, draws me out of many waters, and sets me in a broad place (Psalm 18). If this is my God, who knows exactly what is to my benefit and where the line should be and that crossing it will be to my hurt, perhaps I will not fear so much when the waters rise.