The life story of Job has many lessons we can learn from: how to handle suffering, how to counsel those in the midst of trials, how to address God in our questioning, and how to respond to all of the above. These lessons are lifelong as we’ll constantly be bombarded by circumstances that demand us to evaluate and check our position, or rather, our perspective. Our outlook will determine our responses, our actions, and our plans as we move through each day. If, or when, God gives us these tests, will we be able to see them as such? Are we even expected to look at our lives, when thrown into apparent chaos, and realize the work God is doing among the mess? Would the persistent interrogation between Job and his friends, or Job and God, as to why this turmoil was brought upon him disqualify him as one who had a proper biblical perspective? Gaining a godly perspective on this side of heaven takes growth, time, trials, and will either be progressing or regressing, depending on how often we tend to it.
Job’s progress was remarkable, considering the turmoil he experienced. At times, it seems as though he is backsliding, especially as he calls God into question throughout his pain. Reading how he interrogates God makes me uncomfortable, to a point, because we’re privy to the chastising response God gives him towards the end of the book. In two previous posts, The wisdom in answering a question with a question and Sweet sound of sarcasm, I explored portions of how God tends to answer our presumptuous questions. If any one person had what could be considered an excuse to reach the point where he desperately demands answers for his situation, it’d be Job. “This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (1:1), yet God suggested him to Satan before the calamity began (1:8). Why would God do such a thing? Incite Satan and allow him to enact the horror that became of Job’s life soon after? I’m sure there are many theories, but some questions have a multitude of answers. After forty-two chapters, we read that Job ended up right where he began, but God blessed him with twice the prosperity as he’d had before (42:10). Guess he passed his test.
As helpful as it can be to draw from Scriptural stories of man to guide us in our ups and downs, I personally prefer searching out the perspective God may have on any given day. To assume we can have the mind and eyes of our Creator may sound heretical at first glance, but if He didn’t intend for us to have insight into how He works among His creation, why has He chosen to include so much of His “worldview” in the Bible? Perhaps God desires for us to look not only to Him, but also attempt to look from Him. To learn about how God approaches us from His perspective could be the simplest, although incomprehensible, answer to our quandaries. We can so easily align our stories and circumstances with various characters within our Bibles, but maybe we’re bypassing the bigger picture.
God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, so undoubtedly has innumerable plans going on all at once. While we ought not presume to be all that He is, we can rightly respect the fact that each one of us, with our individual storylines, is majestically intertwined into His overall plan. While we suffer, be it physical ailments or emotional mayhem, either within our own bodies of flesh or of those we love, can we heavily consider the purpose God may be bringing about through it all? Even though it may be difficult to view a loving God as One that will cause us pain, only to orchestrate edification in another, we must concede that He does operate this way when He so chooses. The book of Job and each of its characters, including Satan, show the integral teaching that we all, with each ticking second, need to be reminded of; God is.
God is: in control of all, working His will in His every move, wonderfully skilled at perfecting our faith, and providentially fulfilling His purposes. While He doesn’t need to answer to us as to why He’s bringing about what comes, that doesn’t stop many of us from asking. But perhaps, when the blows keep coming, as they did for Job, we can reposition our perspective from the common self-centered one that we naturally assume and force our eyes into a submission that clearly sees it is His holy perspective that matters most.