I read the book of Job (the “o” in Job is “long”) differently since May 13th. Job lost ten children – i lost only one. But, I think the death of merely one child can send a parent over the edge. I love the man, Job, because he gives me biblical permission to accuse God of wrong-doing.
In 13:3, Job moans, “But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.” (Job 13:3) In the following verses Job tells his friends – who think THEY are God – to shut up. I like that, too.
Job loses no steam between chapters 13 & 23 where, in 23:4, he still wants “his day in court” with God. Screaming at God to kill him, Job cries out, “Why was I even born if You planned on hurting me like this??” This is the raw honesty that fills the early chapters of this story.
In Job 38, God answers Job’s request for a “court date”. And every time I read the first few words of that chapter it scares me to death. Of course, that was Job’s reaction, as well. Not once giving Job insight into the heavenly wager made in ch’s 1 & 2, the Judge immediately puts JOB on trial. It’s terrifying. In chapter 40, Job confesses that there is one God – and that Job is not Him. Scared to death, Job promises not to even open his mouth again against the Holy God.
Isolating the book of Job from the other 65 books of the Bible makes God look like an arrogant Ruler who simply toys with His creation. But, that’s why God gave us (as news-journalist, Paul Harvey, used to say) “the rest of the story.” For, it’s in the Gospel accounts, in Christ Jesus, we see the heart of the Holy God. In Christ, we see a God who laughs with us, cries with us, and loves us with a love that defies human understanding.
One more thing comes to mind that I must share here. In 2003, our family went through a devastating event. One day soon after that event while we were all in the car I asked everyone, “What’s your favorite Bible story?” Jordan answered first – I’ll never forget it. Only 10 years old, he said, “The story of Job.” (i thought that was an odd answer coming from someone as young as him. Normally, a child that young responds with something more like Noah or Jonah.) “Why?”, I asked. He replied, “Because after Job suffered God blessed him with twice as much as he had before he suffered.”
I wonder if Jordan has met Job yet in heaven. I like to think he has and that they’ve had the chance to talk about how insignificant their suffering on earth was compared to what they enjoy now, made possible by Christ. And, who knows – perhaps Paul joined the conversation and reminisced over what he’d written to the Roman believers in the first century: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18 NIV)
And, all of these conversations are taking place in the presence of the One who suffered most of all, who is the Lamb, who is the Shepherd, who is the risen King – Jesus Christ.