Job is a good study, in fact the study we have on Job on Tuesday nights at church from 6:30 to 8:00 and past that, is hands down my favorite Bible study or study at church I’ve ever been a part of. Led by a seminarian, Jordan, who gets into the Hebrew, along with our Pastor Jack, and excellent participation by those who attend.
I can’t compare my life with Job, either in regard to his integrity (although I accept that which I have as a gift from God) nor in regard to what he experienced. I take Job as a story and not strictly speaking as history, in the inspired, inscripturated word of God. I’m not saying it can’t be history. But it is for sure a masterpiece of wisdom, giving us a slant on wisdom that is unique.
Job directed his complaints to God. He was righteous, period. And he was suffering. His friends could not put that together. If he was righteous, wouldn’t his life be blessed? But if not, than indeed he wouldn’t be blessed. Job has it out both with his friends and with God. In the end, God’s relatively much shorter reply deftly helps Job to see that the world, including Job’s world is much bigger than Job could possibly imagine. Something wonderful exists about it in terms of God’s working, yes in the midst of all the calamity, pain and suffering.
If I can just get hold of that thought and keep it. In my case I have to add that my life hasn’t been altogether one of integrity, as is the case of Job, though I believe by God’s grace I can say now that that part is a thing of the past. We are sinners, but the book of Job teaches that one can live with integrity in righteousness, and still suffer much in this life. And yet something wonderful, and big beyond our understanding can be occurring at the same time.
But Job is a puzzling book to me, just the same. Yes, he is restored at the end, praying for his friends as they offer sacrifices to God, so that his friends are forgiven and before Job was restored. And then restored, with the same number of children: seven sons and three daughters, this time the daughters being the most beautiful in the land. As wonderful as those children were, the loss of the first ten would be one that would remain for life. And all on a bet, so to speak, with Satan. But again, God is at work in wonderful ways beyond our understanding. Job did not receive answers afterward, but he did finally understand that in spite of everything, God was at work.
And so I look at my life and go on. Believing that God is somehow in it in a wonderful way. Even in the pain. In his grace in and through Jesus.