We know the passage. We have heard the teaching. It’s right in the fabric of God’s Word, nestled in the Book of Job. It is hinted at and located within other segments of Scripture. Here it is: “Naked I came from my mother, and naked I will return. The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away! May the Name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1, v.21). We look at the context of what is going on in Job’s life: He woke up one day, and unknowingly to him, the bottom of his entire life was going to be pulled out from underneath him. He didn’t give pre-approval. He didn’t get the Memo. Nothing in the Word indicates he had any preliminary visions, or dreams, or notices that on this day all of this was going to unfold.
One messenger after another delivers heartbreaking news. Catastrophic. Devastating. We read through it an imagine what our response would be. How would we react? Would we hold it together? Could we even process it? I remember coming across this passage and the deep teaching that is behind it, for the first time. I recall thinking that Job could have (in my estimation) responded in a great litany of ways and been justified. I mean, consider what this man lost (it’s listed in vv.13-19, of chapter 1).
Yet, on the heels of it all, when Job acts and responds, before he even speaks, this is what is recorded: “Job stood up, tore his robe in grief, and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground and worshiped” (v.20). Pow! – right to my face. Note here: This is what he did prior to speaking ~ he acted, he responded, he worshiped God. At this point, he said: “…The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away! May the Name of the Lord be praised” (v.21b).
I think anyone who reads this post can say, “I have seen and been through a lot, in my time.” Loved ones have passed ~ there is separation. Disease and illness ~ some have witnessed decay to incredible levels. Children have terminal diseases ~ much uncertainty can exist and seemingly prevail. There are lost jobs, spouses who leave, financial hardships, eviction notices, repossessions, outright abandonment and rejection ~ all being dealt with, processed, and lived through in real time. And these are just scratching the surface. We live and breathe, and therefore, we deal with heartaches, challenges, and pains day-by-day in life. Sometimes things make no sense. Why, Lord? – we ask. I know about that ~ and you probably do to. And the fact is, we will know about it again because we live and breathe.
But may I suggest that we adopt, live, and practice as Job did? What did he do? He worshiped God. He acknowledged God. He held reverence for God. And through it all, even through the 3 friends that visited Job, sat with him, and tried (although ineffectively) to get him to confess, Job was drawing closer to God and learning something new about Who God is. Do we do the same? When we face issues, and problems, and catastrophes – do we draw closer to God and to His revelation, or, do we drift further away? Do we let go and let God, or, do we try to do it on our own?
Job still had a lot to learn about Who God is and how God works. We do to. In time, and throughout the rest of the book, this unfolds and a dialogue ensues. Toward the end, we see this plainly as Job repents (in chapter 42) and as Job sees his erroneous ways. By the end of the account ~ everyone else is gone ~ it’s just God and His servant, Job. But it doesn’t eliminate the reality that Job started, from the get-go, worshiping God and acknowledging that God can do all things (again, Job 1, vv.20-21). Do we start on that premise? With worship and affirmation of Who God is and What He can certainly do? Even in the middle of a battle, do we continuously converse and commune with God? Are we teachable? Do we speak less and listen more?
The record of Job is a great reminder for me, personally. It gets me back to the essence of what God seeks and is looking for, in me. Am I quick to worship, to listen, to pray, and to seek God – first? Lord, help me to realize that You are in control and You have my best interests at heart!
Blessings and Peace,