I love reading the Bible. Let me rephrase that, I love reading “parts” of the Bible if I am honest. I gravitate towards Psalms and Proverbs. I love reading in Isaiah and Jeremiah. I love uplifting verses that I can memorize to help me through the day. But, at the same time, there are books of the Bible that I have steered away from. I know what is in there and I don’t want to read about it.
The book of Job is one of those books. I know Job was righteous, I know the devil wanted to cause trouble, I know God let Job be tormented, and I know that in the end that Job prospered way more than before. It is all of the suffering and torment that I hate to read about. I want unicorns and rainbows. I want forgiveness and grace. I don’t like the messy stuff that happens in between.
However, this week I decided to start reading the book of Job and I am so glad that I did. I am still in the midst of Job’s suffering but I have found so much strength from reading this account. Job was a prominent man and a big deal in that area. He was wealthy and prosperous and I am sure when he spoke that he was listened to by others. I assume it was well known that he was a righteous man so when death and destruction came upon him I am sure the whispers started. What has Job done? Why is God punishing him? In the Job 7:20, you can read Job asking the same questions:
If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?
Job, like most of us, might have been thinking that his suffering was a punishment. As children, we know that our actions bring on consequences. Therefore we equate being guilty with being punished. I am even sure we have said the words, “they got what they deserved.” So, when someone who is a good person suffers it does not fit into our way of thinking. Suffering is not what they deserve so why is this being inflicted on them?
Job’ friends came with the intention of giving him comfort but they didn’t understand everything that was going on either. They end up telling him that he must have done something wrong, that he was just mad that the Lord was punishing him, and that he needed to quit whining. What? Can you imagine the protest that Job was feeling?
I love Job’s response to his friends. In Job 12:13 To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. Through all of Job’s suffering, through all of his sorrow, he never lost sight that it was the Lord’s will not his. Even when he was told of the loss of ALL of his children he replied in Job 1:21 Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” And then in Job 2:10 he asked his wife, Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
My life might not be all unicorns and rainbows but I can live with that. Some of the most beautiful rainbows occur after a storm. If you are in the midst of a storm remember that a rainbow might be hiding behind the clouds, just waiting to shine through.
Have A Blessed Day!