Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I've just finished reading the book of Job. Once again, new things were popping out at me in every chapter.

You know the story - Job, a righteous man, blessed of God, yet singled out and afflicted tortuously by Satan. Then, having lost everything - family, fortune, health, even the will to live - Job is joined by friends who just don't quite know the meaning of the word "encouragement." Over and over, Job cries out for an audience with God. Job knows he doesn't deserve the calamities that have overwhelmed him. He knows that his friends' accusations are false, and that their explanations of his situation don't address the deep hurting and the questions of his heart. Job wants to talk to God Himself - to ask God "Why?" and then have God answer. Only God can satisfactorily address his situation.

Job does get his audience with the Lord. He does NOT get his answers.

No, God comes to Job, speaking to him out of a whirlwind, and tells Job of His majesty, power, and sovereignty. Then God commands Job to "gird himself like a man," this frail creature who dares to contend with the Almighty!

Job is left speechless. All his questions fade away into silence.

I'm one of those people who likes a little resolution at the end of a story. You know, that "Aha, I see...yes, everything makes sense now!" kind of feeling. Like all the unexplained bits and pieces falling into place to complete the puzzle.

Job's story doesn't give us that tidy, tied-up-with-a-string kind of ending. Yes, Job is restored to health. He is given a new family. His fortunes grow to be greater than they had ever been before. And he lives to a ripe old age, enjoying the love and respect of his children and friends. You could say that Job lived "happily ever after" - but you can't explain the 37 chapters of affliction. You can't answer Why?

I love this story because it is painful and terrible and real, just like life. Not all tidy and squeaky clean. And I love it because, although I have never suffered anything like Job, I have often cried out with a broken and despairing heart, "Why, Lord?!" I love this story because, like Job, God has so often refused to answer my Why? Instead, He has simply overwhelmed me with His presence - I AM GOD ALMIGHTY! Job reminds me: that is enough. Even when life breaks my heart, it is all I really need to know.

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