This is the Old Testament account of the book of Job – a writing of uncertain date, location and authorship. It’s the story of a wealthy man who loses everything – wealth, children and personal health – all due to an unexpected meeting of the Almighty God and Satan.
Job knows nothing of this heavenly encounter. But like most of us would do, he asks: “Why me?” But, unlike what Satan expects, Job refuses to “curse God and die.”
Three friends arrive, each of whom offers their own opinion as to why this has happened. The first one says it’s because Job has sinned. The second one suggests that Job may be suffering for the sins of his children (perhaps as a bad parent). The third one says that Job actually deserves to be punished more than has happened so far.
We hear these same opinions today when we or people we know experience hard times. It’s to easy to say (or to think): Well, he or she deserves what they are getting.
That may be the case in some circumstances. But not always. And certainly not with Job. It takes a fourth person to suggest that it is “the breath of the Almighty” that can bring understanding.
And that’s what happens, God answers Job. The Almighty doesn’t answer Job’s question of: Why Me? Rather, God expands Job’s horizon – asking Job this question: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” God’s scope is so much bigger than our own.
Suddenly, Job gets it and repents, telling God “I have declared without understanding things to wonderful for me to know.” God restores Job with new wealth, a new family and added longevity. And God even forgives Job’s pseudo-friends because Job has been willing to intercede for them.
What does it all mean? We are reminded of the scripture at Hebrews 11:6 that says God rewards “those who diligently seek Him.”
Like Job, we are reminded that God has His purposes, not all of which are readily known to us. It can be ok to press God with our questions, though the answer may not always come on our schedule or as we might expect. It’s God’s choice as to when or how He interviews – but in the end His mercy trumps all other motives.
Can we live in awe of an awesome God? Be prepared for the unexpected. And even in those hard times, show the courage and the humility to say with Job: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”