“Oh my goodness. You must feel like Job.”
This sentence was uttered by a nice woman in the boot camp class I was trying out. We’d talked a few times before but today’s class had found us next to each other as we made the circuit. Soon talk turned to kids. Aren’t they the great conversation starter? I was upbeat talking about my full nest and my little blessings. Her’s were older. There came a point when something came up and it needed to be said—my husband had died in September. I was managing all of this thanks to amazing friends.
She was shocked. She, of course, asked what happened. Heart attack, very sudden, but God is taking care of us, came my reply. Then she uttered the comment with a shake of her head, “Oh my goodness. You must feel like Job.” Before I could reply the instructor was talking and we moved on. I had to duck out of class early to get home to the kids and errands. I never got to answer her statement, but as I drove, her words echoed in my mind.
Job, huh? This Bible hero means a lot of things to many people—suffering, questioning God, poor friends and advisers, God’s absence or presence in our trials, and so on. All of these things are included in this story. But one of my favorite Bible verses comes from Job 13:15a: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him….”
Oh that I could be compared to Job! Oh that my faith would be so rock-solid in the God worthy of my trust. Through the pain and the trials, oh that I could cling confidently to the truth that no matter what happens, He is still trustworthy!
A friend once told me she wrestled with this verse. God will not slay us so Job seems to be off the mark here, she thought. But I see it as Job popping a gasket, losing his temper, and finally blowing up at the nay-sayers in his life who do not see where his faith was anchored. I see it as him telling them that no matter what circumstances appear to be, he will stand firm in his faith.
Oh that I would be like Job! Oh that no matter how much this journey has hurt or how long it seems to be, oh that I would keep coming back to the truth that I trust Jesus! I trust the God who sees a big picture that I cannot see. I trust Him for my provision. I trust Him for my children’s wounded hearts. I trust Him when bad news arrives in the mailbox. I trust Him for wisdom in the next steps even when fear makes me take my eyes off that truth. I can always come back to the truth that He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He is good.
Job even did what some cannot grasp is OK – he questioned God. When he finally had more than he felt he could take, he pitched a fit and railed against the unfairness of it all. His shouts at the heavens reached God and God answered. The reply makes me laugh. God put Job right in his place. “Who is this who darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me.” Job 38:2-3
God goes on to describe just how worthy He is to figure out what’s good, just, and fair and just how small Job is. And after listening to God’s response, Job is appropriately set back on the right path. He repents, humbled, and returns to the faith he always knew to be true.
A friend told me long ago that God can take our anger. He can take it when we tell him how unfair this is and how upset we are things aren’t going like we thought they should. As a mom, I now imagine one of my kids as toddlers throwing a fit when I say no. It’s almost amusing. No matter how frustrating the fit might be (or embarrassing in the middle of the mall) it doesn’t change that I love them. I will take the time to discipline them and help them learn better.
God loves me. He will strengthen me and walk with me even if I pitch a fit like a tired toddler. He isn’t going anywhere. He is faithful.
Oh that I will stand through this trial confident in the fact that He loves me. He wants the best for me. Even when I cannot see what the final outcome is going to be, I can trust him absolutely. The story of Job even has a happy ending in chapter 42, verse 12: “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.” There is promise that our faithful trust in God leads to good things—either in this life or in heaven.
Oh, to be like Job.