“And Job again took up his discourse, and said: ‘Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness, as I was in my prime, when the friendship of God was upon my tent…'” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Job’s ordeal had been intense at this point. He had lost everything including his health. That’s not really specific enough. He had faced total financial ruin. All of his children had died in a tragic accident (an accident we, the readers, know was caused by Satan). His wife had functionally abandoned him out of her own grief. And he was experiencing horrendous physical suffering as well. To make matters even worse, three of his best friends had spent days with him arguing with greater and greater intensity and insistence that he was ultimately to blame for all of his troubles because of some sin that was going unconfessed in his life. The old adage, “when it rains it pours,” does not even begin to cover it here.
And yet look at where Job’s heart is still leaning. He wants to go back to the way things were. “Of course he does!” almost any observer would note. “He had everything and now his life is in shambles. Who wouldn’t want to go back to the way things were?!?”
But that’s not what he longs for. He longs to go back to where he felt he was in his relationship with God. That is pretty remarkable. Most folks at this point would have long since given up on God. For Job, that’s the one straw he has stubbornly refused to let go. He was so convinced of his own innocence in all this mess (much to the increasing chagrin of his friends), that he absolutely would not look anywhere else for his relief. He openly felt abandoned by God, but wouldn’t walk away to find comfort from another source.
Where do you go when life feels like it is falling down around you? For far too many of us, I suspect we have some closet sin habit that we treat as our salve. We let it soothe our sores even though there is nothing healing in its formula. In fact, it really serves to rub more poison in our wounds.
Others, though, have turned to various other religious worldviews for answers and help. Most worldviews will offer some kind of an answer to the pain in our lives. The question is: How helpful will their answer be? And helpfulness here should be evaluated by how in tune with reality they are. An answer that sounds really good, but doesn’t resonate with how the world actually works isn’t ultimately going to give us the help we need.
Best is to take up Job’s approach. When life gets hardest, lean harder into the God who is not only good, but bigger than the hard you are facing. Paul’s assurance that He can work good in all situations and circumstances for those who are willing to stick with Him is not an empty platitude, but a deep truth that has been experienced over and over again by those who are willing to trust Him. And this often in ways they could not have imagined prior to experiencing it. Trust in the Lord. Trust hardest when it’s hardest. You won’t regret it.