Job 3:1-16; 23:1-9
After a week of suffering in silence, Job finally cried out and let loose some of his frustrations. He had no idea that there was a dispute going on between Satan and God, and he might not have cared even if he did know. He'd lost everything: all his property, his children, his health, and the support of his wife. He was in such agony that he was using pieces of pottery to get some fleeting relief from the sores. Satan and heaven’s hosts waited to see what Job would do, whether he would curse God and formally sever all ties with him. And Job opened his mouth and cursed. . .the day of his birth.
Let's not misunderstand. This is pretty bad, since it implied that God didn’t know what he was doing when he knit Job together in his mother’s womb. But this is definitely not what the Enemy was hoping to hear. This is the closest that Job ever got to really cursing God, and it can be somewhat excused by his circumstances. I know that if I experienced what Job was going through, I'd be tempted to say a lot worse things than this.
But what was the worst loss for Job? As we noted before, he had a perfect attitude towards his lost possessions, and his response to his wife seemed to indicate that he could bear the physical suffering. I thoroughly believe that the worst part for him was God’s silence. Job thought he was on pretty good terms with his Creator (which was actually true), so these calamities made absolutely no sense to him.
When someone is undergoing loss and they ask “Why is this happening to me?” I don’t really think that information is what they're really looking for or need. If some prophet had revealed to Job what was happening behind the scenes, I’m not sure at all that this would've helped him at this time. But what would've really eased his suffering would be a sense of God’s presence, just knowing that the Lord was there, that he was in charge and that he loved Job more than the man would ever know. I've never gone through even a fraction of what Job experienced. But when I have undergone unpleasant things in life, the most important thing to me is feeling my Savior's presence. That's the one thing that makes it bearable.
Of course, he often makes his presence known through his Body, namely the church. When my siblings in Christ surround me to comfort me and tell me that we're going to get through this together, that’s the Lord speaking through them. But Job didn’t have that at all. His wife urged him to curse God and die (in other words, give up), and after the week-long silence his friends started accusing him of harboring secret sin. And worst of all, God was silent. Everything in his life pointed to the obvious conclusion that the Lord was extremely angry with him and was punishing him, or at the least had abandoned him altogether.
But whatever the evidence was telling him, whatever his feelings were telling him, it was all misleading and wrong. His Redeemer hadn’t abandoned him, and he wasn’t angry at him for any particular sin. When God seemed furthest away, that was the moment when he was actually closer than ever before.
Friend, I don’t know if you’re going through a Job-like experience right now or not. But I promise you two things. A) There will come a time in your life where it feels like God has abandoned you and hates you. B) He hasn’t and he doesn’t. If you’re his child, he's promised never to leave you or forsake you.
Lord Jesus, I thank you for your great and precious promises. Please help me listen to your voice and your word, not my feelings. The Enemy can use my feelings to deceive me, and I can even deceive myself, but you never will. Thank you.
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