MORE ON JOB CHAPTERS 1 & 2
Job Chapters 1 & 2 just won’t leave my head and heart. Job’s experience is in some measure what we all experience. I have so many friends going through such upheaval and heartache right now. Some face difficult even terminal diagnoses, others are watching the dissolution of marriages they thought were solid and strong. I have friends who have lost loved ones to death way out of time and others whose jobs have been pulled out from under them. The older I get the more I realize that life is hard … it just is hard. Often my response to a hard circumstance is to search for a broader meaning or some clear understanding of what God is doing through the current hard thing. I’ve realized as I read these first two chapters of Job that likely even if I knew the background of how something came to be I would not be satisfied. In fact, I might even be more appalled than I am when I’m feeling in the dark about the Lord’s mind for me and my life. So how to get through this hard stuff? I’ve concluded that in the dark I need to cling to what I’ve come to know of the character and person of God.
To me that character is most clearly demonstrated in Jesus and what God did for us through the incredibly hard life of Christ. As I read through the New Testament and see the life that Jesus lived and the relationship He maintained with Father God, I get the map for how to live out my hard life in relationship with God. To me the most telling and pertinent episode of Jesus’ life is the passion and crucifixion. Father God gave Satan full permission to mock, beat-up, and disfigure Jesus. He gave Satan permission even to kill Jesus and to lay upon Him all of the sin of all time. Satan had permission to literally destroy Jesus. He couldn’t have done a thing to Jesus without that permission, but God gave Satan freedom. If I had been able to stand at the foot of the cross the day that Jesus hung there and to somehow supernaturally look into heavJen to see what in the world God and Satan were discussing at that time, I imagine the scene would have disturbed me far more than the scene behind Job’s losses.
“But God, this is Your son! This is the one You supposedly love! How can You possibly let Satan get away with this? What possible gain could there be in allowing this horrible, ugly, impossible-to-redeem scenario play out?”
But God saw beyond the cross, He had a purpose in mind, and the purpose was my salvation and your salvation and the winning of salvation for every person for all time. God is perfectly good. God is omniscient. God is omnipotent. And God is love. I can trust His character even when what I’m going through seems to be the vilest possible set of circumstances. Even if what I’m going through is fraught with sin and I’m victimized. God can and will redeem it as I seek to follow and worship Him in the dark.
I believe one of the reasons Job is in the canon of scripture is to give us a glimpse into the heart of this perfectly good God Who truly does have authority over Satan and over death. The glimpse in Job is imperfect, but when Jesus comes we get to see the rest of the story! And it is good!