Since the beginning of this year, 2019, I have been roaming around the book of Job. I have read it countless times; many times, I will just keep reading the same chapter for several days…repetitively. Although it is a repetitive process I am engaging in, I tell you the truth, I have not for one moment thought that I was bored. I have never even thought about that until now that I am typing this.
The richness of the wisdom in the book of Job cannot be exhausted! You can drink without finishing and the more you drink, the more you want. Indeed, the spirit of God that is in man is able to fill all our desires, in this case, the desire for wisdom!
But isn’t the book of Job the book of pain, sadness, and judgment? Oh no, it is probably the book of how God can restore a man’s blessing twofold if we can trust Him.
A lot of times, we arrive at the book of Job with already preconceived teachings and we do not really care about the conversations between Job and his friends. In fact, some of us only know about Job chapter 1 and 2 and then Job chapter 42 where God restores job. If that is all we know, we have missed one of the most in-depth conversations about life. The conversation of Job and his friends is blended with irony, sarcasm, intelligence, and mystery. In this conversation, we will find the deepest wanderings of the human heart. Perhaps it was only proper that this conversation happened during the period of pain, for indeed, only pain can bring the best out of us. “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world,” wrote out C.S Lewis. Indeed, it roused the mystery, intelligence, wonder, and wisdom in the hearts of these four men.
So far in my readings of Job, I am lost in the sea of their ponderings. How could ordinary men pour out such wisdom? How is it that people can pour such knowledge about things they haven’t even seen?
For Job’s friends, Job was a sinner who had refused to acknowledge that he sinned; for Job, he was an honest man who served God truthfully and believed in his innocence; and if we look closely when God appeared, He did not vindicate Job, rather He only stated His credentials. In the last episode of the book, Job is restored but in the second to the last episode, there is no hint that such would happen. God stated His credentials and even Job was terrified, he could only reply back “You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely, I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” This exclamation of Job is the speechlessness of a man at the awesomeness of God. Such wisdom! Such glory! Such majesty! Such sovereignty! Such might! And Such a God. Job was saying in essence, “God’s ways are mysterious, and I will live with it.”
This hope of Job, the hope in a God who appeared to have turned His back on Him is the resounding message of this book. Life is like that. Today you’re happy, all is well and the Christian life is smooth and easy. Tomorrow, temptations befall you, a loved one dies and every form of livelihood is lost. (This is the story of over 920,000 kids in Mozambique as I write this. Cyclone Idai took everything they had, except their lives).
This drives us mad, we want a straight life, we want to be sure of tomorrow and we want life to be as we have planned or imagined it to be. But it is not always that way.
But what happens when life goes that way? May we find the courage to exclaim, just like Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him”.
Trust requires that you don’t know all the details, but that you still give in!