[Job said], “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. (Job 1:21-22)
It had been 25 years since I’d visited with him. We attended college together. We were members of the same fraternity. We had some great times together. We graduated. We went our separate ways. And somehow a quarter century passed.
After his initial e-mail I was eager to catch up so I asked what had been going on in his world these past 25 years. I was so affected by his response that I asked him if I could share his story with you. Here’s what he wrote:
Nine years ago my wife and daughter were killed in a car wreck. We have an older son that is 23 now and just graduated from [college] and is working…here in town. And we have a 12 year old little boy that was born with severe brain damage. He is the light of my life. What an amazing gift God gave us. He goes to school 5 hours a day. After I lost my wife and daughter I sold the [family business] to a guy that worked for us for years and I stay home with my son.
I wrote back and shared how grateful I was that, like so many in our world, he had not succumbed to bitterness toward God due to the horrific pain he’d endured.
His response was more powerful than a hundred sermons on the subject:
You know Nick, our God is truly a faithful God. I can honestly say that my faith has never been stronger. It has been hard, but I have never felt anger at God at all. He truly has never left us or forsaken us. I don’t know how anyone goes through what we have been through without a relationship with the Lord.
The Bible is replete with stories of men and women who, although they loved and served the Lord, were forced to endure tragedy and pain. And each one ended up at the same crossroads: “bitter or better – which will I choose?” Job was one such man.
Chuck Swindoll describes the book of Job as “a study in pathetic tragedy- a hapless victim of unfair treatment. His disastrous circumstances overwhelmed him. His boil-covered body tormented him. His so-called friends belittled him. His distraught wife discouraged him. Even God seemed to desert Him – letting Satan have his devilish way.” If anyone had reason to allow bitterness to take its root and unleash itself on God it was Job. But, as the Scriptures record, “in all of this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”
That’s Job. That’s my friend from college. That’s the amazing grace of Christ Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick