I’ve always been fascinated by Job.
This story in the Bible, of how a man had EVERYTHING, and then, just like that, it was all gone. Taken away from him within just a few moments.
There is so much to learn from him. For me, by the end of the story, when he stays faithful to God throughout his great loss and suffering, I’m just in awe of his faith. In the end, he praises God, his faith and belief in Him is stronger than ever, and then he is blessed by God beyond measure. (“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10).
But it’s the middle of the story that I can’t forget.
Job didn’t just mourn for a day and move on.
He lost everything. He lost the ones he loved. He grieved. He mourned. Job even cursed the day he was born.
I wonder why this story is in the Bible? For me, Job seems so real. He seems like you and I. He has feelings and emotions. He does what I think we all would do if faced with his situation. Or if we have in fact been there ourselves…faced with loss or pain and suffering.
Job seeks counsel from his friends, and they accuse Job of doing evil – that perhaps this is why tragedy struck his household. God later reprimands his friends, by the way.
What I see, though, is a man who is doing what is only natural.
He’s asking “Why?”.
He is seeking comfort from his friends, and perhaps answers. Isn’t that what we do? “Why did this happen to me?” “Why did this have to happen?”
Or, “this should never have happened.”
Have you ever asked this? I know I have. I’ve looked up to the skies above and asked Him why, about many things that have happened in my life.
And when I’ve asked God this question, I have not heard a reply. The heavens have not opened up in that moment and a voice called down from me and given me the answer and I then say, “Oh, okay! That’s why God. Thanks! Now I know!”
I get goosebumps when God does speak to Job: “Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer me.”Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” Job 38:1-7.
I don’t know about you, but just reading those verses and imagining that scene and God speaking to ME, I shudder. It puts me in my place. And it puts God in his rightful place. The Mighty One. The Creator of the Universe. The One who created me and gave me breath. Who gave me everything.
God speaks to Job for a long time. He uses Nature to show his power and that He is in control. That He runs the show. Not us.
I think it’s interesting that there isn’t necessarily a “why” answer from God. Yes, he shows Job who He is and that he maybe shouldn’t be questioning Him. But God doesn’t say, “Hey, here’s why I took your family from you.” Here’s why you experienced that heartache. That rejection. That suffering. That loss.
Sometimes I don’t think there’s a why for everything that happens.
Or perhaps we are not meant to know the why. Not in this lifetime.
That’s a hard pill to swallow. Hard to fathom. Hard to accept.
But, what are we going to do with knowing that? Does it mean that we aren’t going to wrestle with God and ask Him and wonder the reasons? Does it mean we put ashes on our face for a day, and then carry on and never look back?
I don’t think so.
Just look at Job. He did what is only natural, and probably what God expected would happen of Him. He mourned. He was sorrowful. He sought counsel and comfort from the world. He was left with questions and doubt.
But He turned to God. He had his time of this inner wrestling, yes, but He did not turn his back on God. One of the most powerful verses says, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 1:22
It’s easy to want to blame God. To blame someone. Anyone. To blame ourselves.
Though I think it’s natural to think and feel all these things, I don’t think we should stay stuck there. It’s easy to get stuck. To dwell. To turn away from God when bad things happen.
We can’t stay there. Can’t stay there forever. In that place of anger. Of doubt. Of questioning. Satan wants us to stay there. He wants us to turn our backs on God.
Sometimes there just isn’t as the saying goes, “a reason for everything.”
But there is a, what am I going to do now?How am I going to live the rest of my life? After the pain and hurt has happened, and you’re now living in the aftermath.
“There is a time for everything . . . a time to weep AND a time to laugh, a time to mourn AND a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4). I believe in this so strongly. There IS a time to mourn. We have to grieve and mourn what we lost; to grieve over what should have been. And that is a process. Sometimes a very, very, very long journey.
But, there is a time to laugh. To dance. To be happy. To move forward. I don’t like the phrase, “move on,” because it sometimes can sound and seem insensitive. Though we may not want to look back, I think we are still going to. We aren’t not going to come out of those painful times without scars and wounds that are triggered now and again, but, we have to keep walking on. We eventually have to move forward. If we’re always looking back, we are held prisoner, and we are missing out on the beauty that does lie in our future. The blessings that will come upon us again -even if we can’t see it now. If we keep looking back, we can’t see where we are going. We can’t see the present and be thankful for it. We’ll just see the darkness behind us, and miss out on the light in front of us.
In the end, Job ends up praising God. Despite everything, this is what he does. May we strive to draw closer to God during times of trial. To bring our questions to God. But may we never turn our backs on Him or curse His name.
After all, where was I, or, where were you, when He laid the earth’s foundation?