The story of Job is a very difficult epic poem to read…quite depressing of a story. BUT, extremely important.
I’ve been reading Job in my morning devotionals and have been profoundly affected by its meaning. Normally, I don’t give this portion of scripture much thought. It’s just sad…demoralizing even! Job loses literally everything good in his life, and he’s left to process his misfortune with his know-it-all friends.
But, over the last several days, I’ve seen how Job’s misery (with his flock of confidants huddled around him) depicts the dilemma, and perhaps the real answer, facing all humanity.
We all want to make sense of the trials and tragedies we face. It burdens our soul that evil comes our way. We want to know why it’s happening and how to reverse its curses. But, if anything is true in this poetic drama of life, it’s that there are things going on behind the scenes that we will never have the privilege of knowing.
Job never finds the true meaning of his suffering, nor are his friends proven right in all their words of judgment and criticism. In fact, what I realized very quickly as I was reading this story, is that nobody is right! With all the wisdom and understanding that all tried to bring to the table, they were all wrong!
What that tells me is that our wisdom may be correct for our situation, but the truth behind our circumstances may be a far cry from a correct understanding.
For me, this is the simple message of Job: WE TRULY DO NOT UNDERSTAND, nor may we ever understand, what the true meaning of our negative experiences in this life is. I’m not suggesting that life is not meaningful, but that we are not privy to all the conversations or decisions happening behind the scenes.
I love what God finally says to Job near the end of the story, “Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?” (Job 40:8)
In a simple Word, the meaning is obvious: stop being offended by God (and everyone else).
Sometimes, the call of God is simply to be faithful—to live for something greater than ourselves…to be humbled by the fact that the true picture of things is outside our purview. Our joys and sufferings are simply the story within which I discover who I really am in the midst of a sovereign and loving God working out a universal story, of which I am only a single player amongst billions.
The truth may not always comfort us in our distresses, but it will free our soul to be who we were created to be in our particular story.
So…live well, my friends, no matter the circumstances you find yourself. And at the end of the story, you will find that God is still with you no matter what you may be experiencing.
With great love for you all…
What good encouragement for my (our) soul! This thing (being right and knowing) that humanity wants to hold so tight too is so destructive. Can’t it be enough for us that GOD KNOWS! Grateful God continues to do His good work in us up unto the very day of His Coming!
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Perfectly timed. I recently read Job and finished it with anxiety. I wanted a conclusive answer. Realizing we don’t need an answer or complete relief from our circumstances but have faith there movement behind the scenes. At this time the most powerful personal issues are showering BUT loving myself to love others is greater. Shake it up Holy Spirit and release the plan God has!
Thank you Pastor Jim and my Zion’s River family.