It is ironic that the name of the one man from the Bible associated with suffering is spelled exactly the same as “job”, the one thing that can cause a large amount of suffering from Monday to Friday, but I digress.
In case you’ve forgotten your Sunday School, Job was a guy seen in high regard by God. One day, the devil makes an appearance in heaven challenges God. He makes a bet, that if Job is shaken he will renounce his faith. God believes so much in his servant that he allows it to happen.
The losses move fast. Money, provision, the death of family and the scorn of friends. Job persists in faith until the devil asks God to touch his health. God allows it and suffering rains down. Finally, Job looks to the sky with open hands and asks:
God replies in a perfect defense, asking where Job was at the creation of the universe and, on what grounds does he question his situation. We read that Job repents and is restored more than what he had lost in the beginning.
If it was only that easy.
There are times when it feels like every fiber of your life is under attack. Nothing is safe. From faith to family and finances, health to stability. You get hammered from all sides. Friends show up, as they did with Job, and question the causes. They look down on you and wonder what you did to deserve it.
The days feel like a cosmic game, like you are moving around a board waiting for the next strike.
Two things we can learn from Job. First, God defended him before any loss and suffering. He was highly regarded, in the same position we are as followers of Jesus seen through the grace of his sacrifice. Secondly, Job was allowed to question. God could have ended the story in a moment. Job was still breathing for a reason. He needed to step into his restoration found only through repentance.
The attacks will come. Cars break down, health fails, stress and conflict build. You look at the one you love and you are arguing for no reason. Your kids are wild and suddenly you don’t have the energy to fight.
God’s answer to Job is our own. Take a minute and read the list he lays out in Job 38-42. All things are possible. Our restoration is not a challenge for the one holding the universe in his hands.
The sun comes up tomorrow. When you look in the mirror, you have a choice. Climb back in bed or keep going. Run or fight. Fear or faith. Be scared or be strong. It is not a sprint, it is a marathon that starts in one step. Make it count.