Monday, August 26, 2013

"My Life is Over" in Job's world

My life is over. That’s what Job said and exactly how he felt, for good reason. I love this man Job. He fulfilled his role as the spiritual head of his household. His success and wealth weren’t idols. He made worshipping God top priority. Job was your all-around perfect guy.

One day one of his servants came to him with terrible news. The Sabeans from Arabia had attacked and stolen his 500 yoke of oxen and 500 donkeys. They killed all the servants there and he was the only one to escape.

Before that servant could finish telling Job what happened, another one showed up to break more bad news, telling Job that fire fell from the sky and burned up his 7,000 sheep and the servants with them. He was the only one to escape. Before this servant could finish, another one came to tell Job that the Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and took Job’s 3,000 camels, killing the servants tending them. This servant had escaped alone. So all of Job’s livestock was gone and he had three surviving servants. That’s a BAD day!

Then even worse news came. A parents’ worst nightmare. A fourth servant came to Job to tell him that while Job’s kids were all together having a feast at their oldest brother’s house, a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. The house collapsed on them and they were all killed. All ten of them.

In Job’s grief he didn’t blame or curse God like Satan had hoped he’d do. Before all these bad things happened to Job, Satan had appeared before God for permission to attack Job. When it didn’t work, he appears before God again. Then God gave Satan permission to attack Job’s health, but he couldn’t take his life.

While Job is still grieving the loss of his children, livestock and almost all of his servants, he becomes gravely ill. With painful sores covering his body from head to toe, he sits among the ashes of his grief. While he’s scrapping his sores with a piece of broken pottery, Job’s own wife complains saying to her husband, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9

Job still didn’t curse God. He answered his wife saying, “Shall we accept only good from God and not trouble?”

Job’s three closest friends traveled to see him with the intentions of bringing comfort and sympathy. The scene is heart wrenching. They knew job had buried his ten children, countless servants and lost all his livestock. Now he was very sick. When his friends saw Job from a distance they could barely recognize him, and began to weep loudly. They tore their clothes and sprinkled dust on their heads, and sat on the ground with Job for seven days and nights. No one said a word to him because they saw the depth of his grief.  Job 2:12-13

When Job could find no comfort or relief, he finally breaks the silence. He cursed the day he was born. He wanted to die. He saw no reason for his life to go on. But he still didn’t curse or blame God. His three friends responded to Job by judging him, saying he must be living in blatant sin for God to allow all these terrible things.

Job consistently maintains his innocence. He still doesn’t curse God. He complains though and asks why. He’s angry, bitter and wants to die. He sees no future. His friends continue to judge him. After Job has reached his limit, ranting, crying before God, and having these discussions with his friends, God finally speaks out of the storm, Job 40:6. Job, awestruck by who God is, still believed that God can do all things and no plan of His can be thwarted. In the end, Job prays for his friends.

What a process! Job was intense. His emotions are raw, but he never cursed God or blamed Him for everything that happened. I don’t know how long the whole process lasted, from the time of all of Job’s losses, to his friends coming around and accusing him of sin in his life, or how long his illness lasted. I imagine the healing began when he finally stopped complaining and God finally spoke.

It was after Job prayed for his friends that God fully restored him. He doubly blessed the latter part of his life more than the first part. Job had ten more children and twice as much livestock. Many good things happened to Job later in his life. I’m sure this infuriated Satan. Satan had a plan, but so did God. 

What about you? Are you experiencing loss right now? Everything is filtered through our Father’s hands. We wonder why and get angry and bitter. Please don’t give Satan the satisfaction of you giving up and cursing God. Job saw no way out, other than God taking his life and getting it over with. I don’t always understand why bad things happen to good people. God never promised that bad things wouldn’t happen because we live in an unpredictable, fallen world, where sin corrupts and abounds. God is still in control and the story isn’t finished yet. God will see you through. He will speak and He does have a plan.

In His grip, still trusting,