One of my favorite passages in The Bible comes from of the book of Job. I love it because it is a poetic and beautiful rejoinder to a man complaining to God.
Job had reason to complain. He was an uber-wealthy guy who served God well. For reasons he didn’t know, he lost everything: His family, his home, his vast wealth and was left sifting through the ashes of his life, his body covered in weeping sores. His friends came over and tried to help, probing the scriptures, trying to sort out what Job had done wrong.
Job never cursed God, but for 36 chapters, he and his friends speculated.
Finally, out of a whirlwind, God spoke to Job.
Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man and I will demand of you, and you declare to Me.
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? …Have you entered the treasuries of the snow, or have you seen the treasuries of the hail…Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the signs of the zodiac in their season? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule upon the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds so that an abundance of waters may cover you? Can you send lightnings, that they may go and say to you, Here we are? (excerpted from Job 38)
Then Job replied to the Lord: Behold I am of small account and vile! What shall I answer You? I lay my hand upon my mouth. Job 40:3-4
Ummmm frankly, I expect a little more coddling than that when I have a problem. But why should I? We’re talking about the creator of hoar frost, the aurora borealis and lightning. I hurled insult at Him all the years I refused to serve Him, taking credit for the success in my life, and blaming Him for the suffering.
Either God is sovereign over all of it or he isn’t. Gird up your loins little girl, and choose!
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Proverbs 9:10 says and that’s the message I get from Job. If we plan to cultivate a life of faith that radiates love, kindness, courage, justice, peace and confidence, we must get comfortable with the mystery and respect it, accepting joy and suffering as parts of the human equation. Clinging to God through both is the key.
Happily, the Bible is littered with promises to encourage us.
- For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
- Come to me all you who are heavy laden and weary and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
- But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Job did that and his story ends like this:
And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10