“O that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book! O that with an iron pen and with lead they were engraved on a rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! (Job 19:23-27 NRS)
I am so thankful for the book of Job. I am not thankful for what Job goes through nor can I explain (nor will I try) why Job had the experiences he had. What I am thankful for is what the story has to say to me personally as I go through times of darkness, doubt, depression and defeat. Unlike Job, I can see all kinds of reasons for my life being as messed up as it is. In fact, I can see how I am getting off to easy. However, in Job I find a faith that is willing to remain in relationship even when everything seems to be going wrong.
In our world today it is fairly easy to end up in days of difficulty. I am a 66 year-old white male who made bad investment decisions and so I do not have a “nest egg” for retirement. At 66, I have also found it very difficult to find a job. I am certain my age has a lot to do with my inability to find work. But that is OK. Why is it OK? Because God is God and I know I can trust God’s promise.
God did not promise me a job, but God gave me a calling.
God did not promise me freedom from pain, but God did give me the hope to endure.
God did not promise me fairness in this world, but God did give me grace.
God did not promise me I would not fall, but God did give me the forgiveness to recover.
God did not say I would be liked or appreciated, in fact God promised the opposite. However God did provide the fellowship of the saints and God offers me a place at the table.
God did not say I would be spared difficulty, in fact God promised the opposite. However God did make it clear that I would not face the difficulties alone, even if I was unaware of the Presence watching over me.
Job dealt with the deepest feelings of betrayal and injustice. Job was angry with God. Job was frustrated with God. Job wanted to challenge God.
How was God with all this? God was fine. God is good all the time, all the time, God is good. This is not just a cute saying, it is the foundation of true faith. It is the awareness that comes with spiritual growth. It is the pillar we hold on to with our all as we move toward death, eternity, and the reality of eschatology. Job comes to understand. Thus, Job sets an example for me.
This is the patience of Job.