Wednesday, July 3, 2019


Job is a man afflicted. That's the crux of the entire story as given to us in the Bible. The question this story seeks to answer is what Job will do with his affliction - how will it change the way that he thinks about, believes in, and lives according to God? 

The shocking answer, of course, is that it doesn't, really. But just how profoundly it doesn't seem to affect his faith is startling.

While addressing his friends, trying to respond to everything they have said about God (some of which, you'll notice, seems to try to throw God under the bus a little bit), Job actually spends two straight chapters (26-27) of his own speech defending the greatness of God. Declaring the greatness of God. Sitting among the ashes, scratching his boils with pots of broken pottery (his broken pottery, which used to be part of his precious treasure), he speaks about how wonderful, amazing, generous, good, and even great the Lord is. 

Even how wonderful, amazing, generous, good, and great the Lord is to him. 

Not only that, but a few chapters later, in Job 31, he will pronounce upon himself a great curse, in keeping with God's perspective on the matter of curses. He will declare all of the terrible things that should happen to him, more terrible even than those things that have already happened to him. IF, in fact, he is a sinner. 

Because, of course, he knows with a fair amount of certainty that he is not. 

And this sets up an incredible lesson for those of us who wrestle with this broken world in which we live. See, Job's friends were spending a lot of their time and energy trying to figure out what was happening to him. Trying to justify the experience he was having. Trying to name anything and everything they could that might be the cause of Job's calamity. 

Job wasn't really interested. At least, not in the same way that his friends were. He probably had some desire to know. He probably ached to figure it out. But he doesn't spend his time guessing about things he's not sure of. Rather, he spends his time speaking confidently about what he does know.

What Job knows is that God is wonderful, amazing, generous, good, and great - even to him, that sinners deserve curses, and he proclaims those curses so boldly because he is just as sure that he is not a sinner. 

In other words, while his friends are asking, "What are you missing here?" Job is focused on "What do I know?" 

And it enables him to maintain his faith. 

Most of us, we're like Job's friends. We spend our lives trying to figure out what it is that we don't know, always looking for that missing piece that will explain our experience. We figure if we just knew a little more, if we just figured one more thing out, if we could put a rhyme or a reason to all of it, then we'd understand. Then, we'd be sure. Then, we'd seal our faith.

But more often than not, our search for understanding every little thing leads us to question what we were once so sure of. We find ourselves wondering, trying to explain our misery, if God is even good at all. Although if you'd asked us yesterday, we would have said that He was. We find ourselves questioning whether we know ourselves, but honestly? If we weren't trying to be something else, we know exactly who we are. Over and over again, our searching for answers raises questions that we shouldn't have to answer because the truth is that we know what we already know. Or at least, we thought we did. 

So we lose our faith at a moment when we most desperately need it when Job shows us that it's really not so hard. We don't really need to know what we think we need to know; what we already know is enough. 

What we need to learn is how, like Job, to say it.

"This I know, that God is good. This I know, that I am righteous. This I don't understand, that this broken world causes pain. But what I don't understand changes not what I know, that God is good and I am righteous."

Sometimes, we just have to say we don't know, then go back to what we do know. 

What do you know?

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