The story of Job has always intrigued me for a variety of reasons. Here he was, the man that God himself was impressed with. “Have you seen my friend Job?” It almost sounds as though God himself were boasting. “Look around. Try to find anyone that is more stable, more blameless than he is! Try to find someone. I dare you!” 

Apparently, God had reason to boast (If God boasted). Job had it all together. He was the poster child for spiritual living. Job had it all. A great church, a great family, well behaved kids and although Scripture says little about her, I’m guessing his wife was a knock-out.

If Job were alive today he could probably have whatever he wanted. The evangelicals would flock to him as the one who could do away with all the social ills. Those on the other side would have to admit he was a class act. Besides, he had money, and money always speaks loud and clear.

Try looking at Job from a human perspective. Look at his story without the advantage we have of the backstage drama between God and Satan. At the peak of his career Job suffers the trifecta of disasters. Economically he loses all his livestock. In his day, livestock = $$. Secondly, he loses everything relationally. The one thing every man hopes for is to leave a heritage behind him. Job lost any hope of passing on his good name that day when, due to natural disaster, every one of his children was killed. But, he still had his health, right? A man can suffer lots of adversity if he’s healthy. Not so fast. Job loses his health too.

So here he is, this man of greatness wallowing in a burnt out campfire scraping his sores with a dirty, broken piece of an old dish.

Enter the church…well, maybe not exactly the church, but close. Three of Jobs ‘closest friends’ come to hold an intervention. Perhaps Job’s demise was casting a dark shadow on their ministry. Give them the benefit of a doubt. Maybe they were there with good intentions. Whatever their motives, the men all had the same message for Job. The message was worded differently, and arguments were made rationally, from our perspective. The bottom line to these ‘friends of Job’ was that adversity comes as a result of sin. Job suffered adversity. Therefore Job sinned.

It’s a simple equation that has been handed down through the centuries. Sin = adversity. Spirituality = Blessing. We have to explain things. We have to give reasons for those times when our Theology about a God of Love falls short. We all have the tendency to explain those times when ‘good people’ suffer and ‘bad people’ are victorious.

Eventually, Job had his wealth and position restored, and a new family to carry on his good name. But Job learned a valuable lesson that each of us needs to learn and I have to admit I’m not good at this yet. That lesson is this. God is God. He is sovereign in all he does.

While I’m not advocating that when trials come we need to don the sackcloth and grab the nearest broken plate on our way to the burnt-out campfire, each of us needs to take the time, during the tough times, to stop and evaluate what got us here. Sometimes it is our sin. Sometimes it’s the sin of others. Sometimes we won’t know.

I appreciate the fact that Job questioned God. He didn’t question YAHWEH’s existence. He evaluated himself and could find no sin. But he shows each of us a couple valuable lessons.

First, God is God and is of another world. We have no idea of the future. We have no idea what is going on in the spiritual realm involving our lives. It takes faith, but each of us must look first to see if there is sin that needs to be dealt with. If so, deal with it. Ask repentance and work towards a cure with the help of the Holy Spirit. If not, faithfully trust that God will eventually make His way plain. It may not be until heaven, but He will reveal Himself.

Secondly, it’s okay to question God, to ask for answers. To share frustrations. To cry. Our Heavenly Father isn’t an emotionally weak old man that can’t handle adversity or argument. He’s a loving, understanding Heavenly Father that only has our best in mind, and He knows better than us what is best for us.

Lastly, stay true to yourself. There are many people out there that will tell you exactly why you are going through this trial and what you need to do to get out of it. Before you jump on some ‘quick cure’ bandwagon spend some time with the Master. Then listen with a Godly wisdom to that others say.

(From ‘Sifted as Wheat’)

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