First, know this: I am not making light of your experiences. You have lost friends and family members. You have experienced devastating relational fractures. You have suffered in body and spirit. We all have.
But you are not Job.
At first glance, I see why you think you might be him. Job was the most unfortunate of Old Testament figures. He is a man who lost everything and everyone he loved. He feels intense pain, and he knows he doesn’t deserve it. He is not afraid to ask why. Neither are you. His sorrows have multiplied onto more sorrows. You’ve felt that before. Maybe not now, but before. And you wonder why God is putting you through this.
But I tell you, you are not Job. And that is good news.
If you think you’re Job, you need to revisit the first chapter of his book. The one where Satan comes before God, looking for mischief. God starts bragging on his boy Job. He is blameless and righteous. Totally upright. The most incredible guy in all the east, He says.
That’s right. God said that. So later on, when Job says “I’ve done nothing to deserve this… I’m innocent,” he is telling the truth.
Look, I’m not trying to be harsh here, but do you still think you are him? Do you really think you are the most righteous person in your nation? So upright that God brings you up in front of Satan in order to allow a one shot cosmic test?
No, you’re not Job, and that’s a good thing, friend. Because the drama that took place in the book only needed to happen once. The point of Job’s testing had to do with man’s intentions: is it possible for us to follow our Creator with pure motives or isn’t it?
Satan was sure it couldn’t happen. He thought that man would only follow God out of selfishness. He went all in on his bet. “If you take away Job’s blessings and put him on his death bed, he will crack. He will curse God. He will give up his faith.”
God let him try. Why? I’m not sure, but I can tell you why I suspect it. I think He wanted to settle the issue for the ages. To show that we really can serve God for who He is and not just what He gives us.
And you know what? Job proved God right. He passed his test.
Do you know what that means? I think it means that God is not testing you in this same way. That experiment ended long before your time.
So why do you hurt so much? I can’t say. Most likely, it’s because this world is a war zone. There are causes and factors and invisible mysteries swirling around us. To try to perfectly interpret the damage is to make the same folly as Job’s friends, whose pomposity got them in trouble with God. I want to give an answer, but I don’t have it.
In my YWAM days, when we went through hard times, we used to ask “Lord, what are you trying to teach me?” It’s a good questions, so long as we understand that while God has treasures for us in the dark, He is the God of light. He makes beauty from ashes, and He does it so well, we sometimes mistakenly think He wanted us to have the ashes in the first place.
Might there be other special circumstances where God is causing trials for reasons that you can’t see? Of course. God works in a variety of ways. Sometimes, there are cosmic skirmishes that we are totally unaware of. As Lewis points out, sometimes Aslan wounds Aravis for His own reasons. Reasons we might never understand in this life. One day, when all the tears go away forever and ever, we can look back and finally know “why.”
But until then, be confident that He is your Dad. Your good Dad. He does not revel in making you suffer, but rejoices in making you whole. That alone is reason to trust and endure.
In this way–and only this way–you will be Job.