“Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)
Job was a man who walked with God and, like all of us, had limited understanding of God. How could a finite created being understand an infinite Creator? None of us know what lies around the corner in our lives. We may think we know, but expectations can be dashed in a moment. Job had no idea that his life would go through such extraordinary grief, sorrow and pain as a result of a conversation between God and Satan. God did not ask Job’s permission to do this and neither will He ask us for permission for the experiences He will bring into our lives for the purpose of enhancing our intimacy with Him. Job knew his Heavenly Father and trusted Him even though he had no idea why this tragedy had come his way or for what purpose. Everything, children, material wealth, the ability to work and the support of his wife were taken from him.
In chapter three we read Job’s first words after seven days of silence. He wished he had never been born or that he had died at birth. The agony of losing his children whom he loved was such inner pain that he wished he had never had to bear it. However, we should notice that Job rejected the suggestion of his wife to kill himself to end his suffering. The reason for this is that he was no longer suffering over the loss of his children but over the lack of understanding of the reason why. Yes, he misses his children and he loves his children but he would see them again. It was the immediate shock of the loss that was so painful. He now needed time to come to the place of resting in God but for that his confused mind would need understanding.
Many Christians have the mistaken and unbiblical notion that if we are faithful to the Lord we will be healthy, wealthy, wise and happy. Such is not the case, and indeed this is not God’s will for us. It is in times of grief, sorrow and loss that we are more sensitive to eternal things and we should pray that God would get his way at these times and in the process give us understanding of who He is.
Job never prayed to be made well or to have material wealth again. His concern was to ensure nothing was between himself and God. His friends agreed with that in principle but were very wrong in their idea of why Job was suffering. When these things happen we can follow Job’s example and seek the answer from the Lord. We need to be careful about listening to friends. Job’s friends and his wife would have turned him against God and away from the will of God. They confused him even more concerning the nature of God and the way He relates to His people.
At the right time, when His work has been done in our heart, mind and will, the Lord will give us understanding.
We would do well to note the focus of the prayer the Lord gave to His disciples which at no time asks for health, wealth and happiness. It is not “me” focussed, but focussed on God: His will, His glory, His kingdom.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.