You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
–James 5:11 ESV
Someday we’ll have the opportunity to meet people of faith described in the Bible. I don’t know how we’ll get to know each other, but I can imagine sharing a love of poetry with Habakkuk, talking to Mary (sister of Martha), sharing experiences in ministry with Priscilla. But I’ll admit that Job intimidates me. How in the world did he endure hell unleashed and remain “steadfast”?
Rebecca DeYoung, author of Glittering Vices, summarized in a podcast how we naturally pursue life:
I have a picture for my life.
I have a plan and want to control how I get there.
I’ll seek happiness my own way.
Job’s agony was that he hadn’t pursued life without God. His daily choices were anchored in God’s revealed will. Job’s resulting happiness seemed just and right. But then the tests arrived, one stacked on top of another, bringing shocking loss. Where was God? Why wasn’t He protecting His own? Who was in charge, anyway?
I don’t have to endure all that Job did to be reminded that I’m not God. In that uncomfortable space of loss, I ache that my current situation is neither the life I pictured nor the plan I made. I’m not in control. And it’s hard to find happiness in the way I imagined.
Can Job offer me advice in that place of disorientation? I notice that he didn’t cave under the intense sorrow. Oh, he moaned and wept and wailed and poured out passionate words for weeks. But I’m taken with Job’s tenacity in demanding a hearing with God. Why would he do that? Because he still believed God to be just and inherently good. That’s steadfast faith. In the end, the enemy was silenced as Job’s faith was proved to be rightly founded in God’s compassionate, merciful goodness.
ACTION: What biblical person of faith do you admire? Why? In what ways are you being reminded right now that you are not God? How might you be scrambling for control? To help you reorient, can you recall past times in your life when God expressed His unchangeable goodness to you? Job boldly shared his thoughts and feelings with God. You could do the same.