A Righteous Response

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “…The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”  In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Job 1:21,22 ESV

Job did his best to avoid what happened to him. It is from Job that we get the statement, For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.” (Job 3:25 ESV) We see Job’s insecurity (of sorts) when we read how that he routinely offered sacrifices for his children after their “parties” over his concern that they may have sinned or “cursed God.” (Job 1:4,5)

When Job lost his possessions and children it is his words and response that arrests our attention. We read that he first “worshiped.” His grief was real and intense. This was no “easy come, easy go” approach to life. But in the midst of the pain, sorrow and loss, He focused His attention upon the Lord.

In his words, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return….” (Job 1:21 ESV) we see that Job held the “things” of life loosely. While had much, what he had did not have him. He recognized what he had came from the Lord and if “the Lord took it” from Him, he was willing to accept that.

The commentary of Job’s response is that in his grief and loss, “he did not sin or charge God with wrong.” There have been so many who in the time of grief and crisis, turned from the Lord instead of to the Lord. Job reveals that he was turning to the Lord. He did not blame God, he did not “give up” on God.

This seems to be the prevailing anticipated response of the day. In a time when God-centered worship was not common, the gods people recognized and worshiped were more to serve humanity than to be served by humanity. Job demonstrates an attitude and approach contrary to the prevailing attitude or understanding.

We see this when after a blow big enough to destroy most, Job was personally attacked by Satan with the destruction of his own health and extreme suffering. Job’s wife had enough, even if Job did not. We see it in her words, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9 ESV)

After my own health crisis, I developed a different view of Job’s wife. She was in suffering as well. What he lost, she lost. She lost the children to whom she gave birth. Then to see her husband in suffering was just adding more and more to her life. The “suffering” of a spouse or family members in a family member’s crisis is real and I believe often misunderstood.

But we see Job once again commended, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:10 ESV) What we “say” about ourselves, God and our situation reveals much about us and it does impact our life. In my crisis the words of my friend Tim Brotzman, who has a history of immense suffering, echoed in my mind, “I have a condition, but my condition doesn’t have me!”

Job was not “above it all.” In his first words he laments the fact the he was even born. So honest expression of pain and suffering is not sin. Job had confusion and questions and in the end had a greater revelation of God. That is often what we can anticipate in our own times of suffering if we maintain a righteous response.

Prayer for today…. Lord, thank You for the strength that You provide when faced with suffering. Help us to be “real” and “steady” at the same time. Help us to always turn to You, not from You when life doesn’t make sense.