For quite some time now, I’ve been reading and thinking about the book of Job and pondering that question. I haven’t been trying to manufacture an answer. I was searching and thinking. Honestly, prayerfully, and with an open mind. In all these studies of God’s “Comeback Kids,” I’ve tried to ‘figure out’ how they ‘figured out’ how to bounce back. My assumption, of course, is that if I get that fixed firmly in my own mind I, too, can become ‘more than conqueror through Him who loved me and gave Himself for me.”Romans 8:37
Job’s commitment to Yahweh was unconditional and unshakable. “Though He slay me, yet will I serve Him.” Job 13:15 Job correctly concludes that God doesn’t have to explain His every move. Perhaps we’d be unable to understand even if He attempted to explain. Thoughts like that may pulverize our pride. They are true, nevertheless.
Job had hope and he held onto it. More specifically, even way back then he had hope of a resurrection: “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Job 19:25-27 The implication he made, the conclusion he drew is: “I shall live also.” These events, as tragic as they are, do not spell the end. There is yet another scene in this drama.
With his jaw steeled and with unanswered and perhaps unanswerable questions scalding his mind, he kept hope alive. When his wife ‘bad-mouthed’ him, questioned his stance in light of all that happened, and even suggested that he end his suffering by ending his own life, Job pointed out something worth noting: “Are we right to expect only blessings from God? Isn’t it reasonable to take the “bad with the good?” Job 2:9-10 God doesn’t run a cafeteria. We aren’t allowed to ‘pick and choose.’
Job’s was not a ‘fair weather faith.’ It was certainly not meant for “light half believers of casual creeds, whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds, who hesitate and falter life away and lose tomorrow the ground won today.” Matthew Arnold, “The Scholar Gypsy”
A very large factor which figured in Job’s remarkable rise from the rubble was his toughness. You cannot miss that, even if you try. We don’t see him wallowing in self-doubt or self-pity or whimpering, and wrapped up in a tight ball self-righteous rags. He wasn’t intimidated by the friends who came calling. (I’m not sure which is worse: arrogant ignorance or ignorant arrogance. These poor guys didn’t seem to have a clue and their efforts to aid Job merely added to his misery. ‘Friends’ like that should stay home.). With little or no facts, they jumped to incorrect conclusions and looked down their self-righteous noses, and wagged accusative fingers at him, seeking to involve him in a no-win “shame and blame game.” Job would not be convinced of his guilt, no matter how loud and long the guys talked. He displayed a tough tenacity that we’d do well to imitate in a time of trouble. Somehow, no matter how I try, I can’t imagine Job pulling a John Wayne stance and saying “You are wrong, Pilgrim. Dead wrong!” But I do see him, like Paul, standing “steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” I Cor. 15:58
How did Job survive? How did he come back? Still not really one hundred per cent sure? Look at the record. What did Job say? What did he do? You can usually identify the keys to a person’s mind by what he says and does. What someone thinks and says usually winds up being the things they do. Those are the things that make a person ‘tick.’ That reveals character. That’s a clue…and an example.
HE HAD MADE UP HIS MIND! AND IT STAYED MADE!!
Somewhere, he had met God face to face and it was a milestone. It was the turning point in his life. Forever afterward, that would be a reminder of a life-changing event. To me the evidence is overwhelming. I can think of no other explanation for his steadfast faith under fire.
Somewhere, back yonder, he’d driven down a stake. Before the storm struck, he had entered a relationship with God. I don’t know where or when it happened, but it is upon that foundation Job was able to stand. Centuries later, Jesus talked about a “wise man” building his house on a rock. The evidence is conclusive that Job did exactly that. If his faith had been built on sand, the results would have been predictable and catastrophic. And his name would have been buried with his bones in the graveyard of history.
History is replete with numerous instances to illustrate the point I’m trying to make. . . valiant people of faith who made a commitment, and ‘took a stand.’ Against all adverstity, heroes rose and stood tall and strong and firm against evil winds. Martin Luther, the great reformer, under tremendous pressure to recant his belief that ‘The Just shall live by faith,” refused to drop his insistence on that principle and proper reform. He knew grim consequences could follow if he didn’t back down. But,without flinching he declared: “Here I stand. I can do no other. May God help me.” William of Orange, considered a hero and perhaps the founding father of the Dutch, faced overwhelming odds in his battle. In the face of every reason that screamed against his cause, he’s reputed to have said: “Before I entered this conflict I entered a close alliance with the King of Kings.”
Then there was Saul of Tarsus, who became perhaps the greatest intellectual of the early church and the framer of so much Christian theology. Tested and tossed every which way, tempted and tried incredibly, he made this studied declaration: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to receive that which I’ve committed to Him. II Tim. 1:12. ( Just for thought: Paul was a thinking man. When he made decisions or drew conclusions, it was usually after careful examination of facts and evidence. He was not superficial or easily swayed. Back yonder, years ago on the road to Damascus, he had met the Christ whom he’d been persecuting. It changed his life forever.
Now, what do you make of all that? Do you view these accounts of outstanding people with outstanding faith and courage meeting and overcoming great obstacles as admirable, and great, entertaining reading? Of do you remember savage storms in your own life through which you were able to safely navigate ONLY BECAUSE of your faith commitment to the Lord?
And, in case you haven’t been paying attention, there are storm clouds threatening dark and ominous on the horizon as I write. It doesn’t seem wise to wait until some tsunami is unleashed in your own personal life or internationally before preparing for the inevitable and for eternity.
God’s servant, your friend, brother, and fellow student ~donkimrey