How long did Job sit in the dust, I wonder? How long did he wrestle with his thoughts? His friends were only silent for a week before striving to assert they knew the reason for his suffering. How long was God silent before He answered Job?
As I often heard a Precept Bible study leader say, “Don’t know, Can’t tell, Doesn’t say.” All we know is that when God answered Job, He had His own questions for him. I counted about 44 before I lost track. Summed up into one question, they ask, “Are you ME?” “Are you GOD?”
After confronted with a multitude of questions like, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” and “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place…?” and “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail…?” Job replies and basically says, “I’m sorry. I’ll shut up now. Who am I? I have nothing more to say.”
Accepting God’s sovereignty is difficult, especially in times of loss and great suffering. But when we remember WHO He is, we are able to say as Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”
How we want to put God in a box and tie it neatly with a bow! But God is God. We will not understand Him or His ways, particularly when catastrophes hit our lives like Job. And our response is human: to question as Job. It’s okay to question. It’s okay to lament. But be careful not to assume. Be careful not to cross the line of lamentation to complaint. It’s one thing to lament TO God of your loss and pain. It’s another to complain ABOUT God.
As I grieve the loss of my amazing, quick-witted, persevering, thoughtful, card-playing, butterfly-loving mom, I am thankful for the book of Job. I am thankful for the example of Job. I am thankful for the reminder that God is sovereign, that He is good, that all He does is good. Death is not His doing. Grief is great because love is great. God reminded Job of His character, of HIMSELF, of His purposes which are only and ever good, true, and right. Because that’s all God can be is good, true, and right.
When we hurt, when we’re angry or feel cheated, we can read Job’s story and remember God’s character. My mom loved Jesus. She followed Him and obeyed Him to the end. The end, in our opinion, was far, far too soon. But we know that God has said to each one of us that our days are numbered. Indeed, before we even came to be, He numbered them. (Psalm 139:16) We grieve these short days, but will we accept it? Will we bow the knee to His sovereign rule? Even over the death of our loved ones gone too soon?
My mom had a letter for her children upon her death. Her first words of the letter read, “Always remember to follow God. He will guide and direct you. Accept what you can not change. Remember, you can accept it, but you don’t have to like it.”
Oh, Death, we do not like you, that is certain. But God’s story, our story, my mom’s story? It does not end in death. It ends in life for those in Christ Jesus. My mom lives. My son lives. I don’t like it, but I accept it, unbelievable as it is. God’s story is life, death, life. Life eternal.
MY HOPE IS BUILT ON NOTHING LESS
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
In Him, my righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.