Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
Like getting swallowed up by the ocean, sometimes our suffering seems too great to handle, yet we are almost always delivered from it. It’s interesting to me that I worry about so much, yet God has gotten me through everything to this point, and He will continue to do so, yet I doubt Him still. In the book of Job, The most blameless man in the entire country is challenged by the devil. First he destroys everything he has, then he takes his family, and he destroys his health, leaving him with a wife who tells him to “curse God and die,” and friends who leave themselves blaming Job for disobeying God. The first 5 chapters of Job are really split into 3 important parts: The Suffering, The Mourning, and The Realization.
In The Suffering, Satan is wandering the earth, aimlessly, because the devil is an aimless, powerless, cretin who has nothing better to do. He challenges God, and God tells him to challenge Job. Think about that for a moment, the person that God tells Satan to challenge is his most righteous and blameless servant. He didn’t deserve what the devil did to him, and what happened to him was because he was such a good servant. Perhaps the suffering that you’re going through is because of the progress you’re making and because you’re doing better than you think you are. A person who is struggling, is someone who hasn’t been conquered yet. Think about it practically; the devil wouldn’t need to put something in your way if you weren’t going anywhere. He has to yell, and scream, and make you feel shame about things you’ve done that don’t define who you are, yet God needs only to whisper, because true power doesn’t come from show or volume, it comes from love.
Then, like any normal human would do after going through this terrible tragedy, Job mourns, and boy does he ever. He curses the day he was born, wishing that he would’ve died in the womb so at least he would be at peace. This is a terribly sad chapter, as Job really lets his true feelings loose, which I think is so valuable. So often we try to put on a false mask for God, and present him with the best version of ourselves, but we seem to forget that He’s the one who made us, and He loves us as we are, and there’s nothing we can do to earn or deserve that. He sent His son to die for us, when we could give Him absolutely nothing in return, knowing us as we are. As humans, we mask the worst parts of ourselves, but when we do that, and refuse to dump out all the poison that’s boiling inside of us, we allow wounds to fester and grow and multiply. What we should be multiplying is our vulnerability to one another, and to God. As we reveal our true selves to one another, we subconsciously allow others to do the same and we allow those around us to see what we really need, so that God can use them to minister to us.
In the third act of this “play” we have Job’s friend Eliphaz delivering one of the all-time great pep talks, and it’s a blueprint for how we can help those around us even today. Some important components of this impromptu dissertation on God’s strength are common themes found throughout The Bible. The most prevalent, to me at least, are his constant reminders to Job of how God has already delivered us, and how He will most certainly do it again. We’ve seen Him perform countless miracles, yet we still doubt Him. Sometimes it can be difficult to see God in a situation as it’s happening, but looking back on my life, I don’t think I’d change a thing, because it made me who I am, and put me right where I need to be. I remember my senior year of high school, I was terrified to go to college, and I had no idea what I wanted to be. I was questioning why God hadn’t placed a stronger calling on my life, and why I didn’t have any direction. Looking back on it now, I realize that the direction God gave me was toward Him. All the details between didn’t even really matter in the grand scheme of things, because now I know, on the other side of all those struggles, is a strong man of God whom needed every single one of them to become who he is today. Eliphaz then paints an extremely vivid picture of God’s strength with metaphors of lions and swords, and warnings to heed the discipline of God, because with discipline comes foundation and security.
This may not be the “sexiest” passage in The Bible, but it’s one of my favorites. We must ask ourselves, if God needed someone for the devil to challenge, would we be able to step up to the plate and trust His plan? Could we be like Job and lose it all and still Praise His name, The Most High? I sure hope I can.