I’ve completed the historical section of the Old Testament, and have begun the “books of wisdom” which include Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.
Job’s Troubles quilt block
Unlike its name, this block gave me no trouble at all. No Y seams, no curves. I’m not tearing out the paper on the blocks until I’m ready to sash them, as you can plainly see.
We all know the story of Job. I don’t personally know anyone who LIKES this book of the Bible. No one likes it when bad things happen to good people. God treats Job so incredibly unfairly. The story portrays God in a way that makes me uncomfortable. Even the so-called “happy ending” leaves me unsatisfied. What purpose does this story serve; earning it a place in the Holy Bible?
It serves a great purpose, actually. I don’t remember which Little House on the Prairie book it is in; but there’s a situation where Laura is complaining to her mother about an injustice she is experiencing. Ma responds with a sharp rebuke that goes something like this: “Laura, the sooner you learn that life isn’t fair, the better off you’ll be”. I remember feeling as if I’d been stung when I first read this as a child. Poor little Laura was hurting and seeking comfort, but Ma tersely dished out the hard truth instead.
The book of Job is telling us the same thing.
I like to think that I have some measure of control over my life. There’s a feeling of safety when finding the reasons for things, causes for effects, explanations for phenomena. We want answers, right?
The story of Job gives us none of those. Instead, it show us that the world is a wild and dangerous place where random things happen. And that’s the purpose of the book. It reminds us that we serve an omnipotent God. He IS the perfect, righteous judge and loving father, even when it seems otherwise. I cannot begin to think that I can explain His ways. His infinite wisdom and perfect judgment cannot be understood by my finite mind. And if I think that people should get what they deserve, I better think twice.
There are glimmers of gospel in Job. Just when you feel the lousiest, Job 33:24 states: “Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.”
That hit me hard. I was reading along, empathizing with poor Job, trying to make sense of the heavenly transactions between good and evil. But the God of Job, who caused fear and frustration, was the very same God who would deliver His own beloved Son to be judged on our behalf. God didn’t find the ransom, either. He provided it at great personal cost. He gave His only son because of His love for us. Wow. Jesus suffered and lost so much more than fictional Job in His Father’s transaction with death.
In a nutshell: It’s not my job to figure out Job. (Couldn’t resist the pun.)
So then, what is my job?
Answer: “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
I like that. It’s simple, clean, and leaves the heavy lifting up to God.