I come up with at least a half dozen good blog post ideas during the week. As is the case right now, I usually forget them. I guess thats why I’ve been doing so many update blogs.
As I have journeyed through the Bible the last few months, I have come to the book of Job. In case you aren’t familiar with Job, here is the short version:
Job is a good man who follows God’s commands. Satan comes to God and says “I bet I can get this good guy to forsake you.” God says “I’d like to see you try, under one condition… don’t kill him.” So, in the course of a chapter, Job loses his entire family to murder and all of his possessions to theft and disaster. Then Job gets a breakout of boils all over his body. The rest of the book is mostly a dialogue between Job and a few highly religious friends who are trying to convince him that the reason he is enduring these hardships is because he is such a bad sinner. Surely a godly man wouldn’t deal with such suffering.
So, when you read the book of Job, I am convinced that there are two equally unhealthy reactions you can have. The first happens when you are in a place of peace and contentment in your life. When you are in a stable place like this you can often read a book like Job (or Lamentations) where everything is depressing all the time and disconnect yourself from it. You kind of skim over it and don’t ever engage it because, well, its really sad and you aren’t.
The other bad reaction to Job is the one that I am constantly tempted to put myself in. I am constantly tempted to read myself into the Job story. Go ahead and take a second to laugh about what I just said. I like to put myself into the Job story.
“How could you put yourself in the Job story?” you might ask. “Your family isn’t dead and you still have some things and you don’t have boils on your skin.” You would be right about that. I still have my family, although I have lost many of my possessions. The boils thing is debatable… I’ve always had really bad skin that includes lots of weird rashes and painful sores… but I’ve never been forced to sit on the side of the road and dig shards of pottery into my skin to drain out the puss like Job did.
I put myself into the Job story because I take a lot of joy from the way that Job reacted to God. Job got mad at God. Job got really mad at God. However, he would always bring himself back to the place where he is putting God at the head of the situation. He knows that God loves him and has everything under control. Even in the moments of deepest despair, he always manages to get back to trust.
In chapter 19 Job goes through another one of his complaint sessions:
“How long will you torment me?… I call for help but there is no justice… my hope He has pulled up like a tree… He has kindled His wrath against me…”
But then, in verse 23…
Oh that my words were written…that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!
The hope that Job has gives me hope. He knows that his Redeemer lives… even though his Redeemer had not yet come to the earth. Incredible.
This time of discomfort that we are going through has shown me time and time again that our trials, as Paul says, are a light and momentary pain compared to our eternal reward.
So… on my good days I have hope that my Redeemer lives. On my bad days I’m a little less sure. I want to believe it every moment of every day.