We just spent twelve days plowing through the book of
Job. That’s a long time to read about someone believing
he should never have been born and wishing he could die.
It’s a long time to read about the man’s friends saying he
brought all his troubles upon himself because of how evil
he was. The Commentary for Dummies says, (it’s actually
called the “Free Bible Commentary in Easy English”), “The
three-spoke very cruel words to Job. They accused him of
many evil deeds (Job 22:4-11). They thought Job was
suffering as a punishment for his evil deeds.” Am I the only
one thinking while I was reading that with friends like these
who needs enemies?
We just invested almost two weeks looking at Job’s sad life,
how when we first met him he was thriving and successful.
Then Satan was allowed to have his way with Job to see if he would curse God.
Just like that, everything Job owned was gone and all of his children were dead.
God even allowed Satan to inflict his body with sores. When that happened, even Job’s
But Job did not curse God. He questioned God and wondered why
may have been easier if he hadn’t been born. It’s my
opinion that he was strongly influenced by his helpful and
insightful friends, and I say that with a great deal of
sarcasm. Which brings us to chapter 42.
God spoke to Job and his friends in a storm. After he heard what God said, Job
immediately repented. One of my favorite verses
things I did not understand. I spoke of things too wonderful
for me to know.” He was referring to how awesome God is.
And can we ever understand what God does in our lives?
Yes, Job did repent, but not for the reasons that his so-called
friends said he should, but for not understanding
God and for doubting him even the tiniest bit. God made
quick work of reprimanding the three friends and had
mercy on them because of Job’s prayers for them,
accepting burnt offerings from them in place of the
punishment they deserved. This was the Old Testament way of
things until Jesus died on the cross and abolished the
necessity of burnt offerings and sacrifices for all time.
Let’s unpack all this. What does it mean for us? When
something really bad happens to you what is the first thing
you do? Your oxen and donkeys are carried away by
Sabeans, the servants watching them are killed, lightning
burns up your sheep and the servants with them are killed,
the Babylonians steal your camels and kill the servants in
charge of them and your sons and daughters are all killed
when the house they’re in is struck by a great wind. That’s
just the first day! The next day you’re inflicted with terrible
sores all over your body! What is your first inclination? To
bow down and praise God? I know there are those of you
out there who have suffered unspeakable tragedies of
pain and loss, some of you more than one more person
should ever have to bear. My life has not looked like that,
but we all have our stuff.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with glaucoma. The pressure was
so high in my right eye that I needed surgery to bring it
down quickly. The surgery relieved the pressure, but it
went too low and the vision was so distorted in that eye.
They went back in and took a stitch in the hole they had
made during the first surgery. The pressure shot back up
again, too high. I remember asking my doctor if he’d had
other patients with this problem. He responded that he’d
only had one and she had lost her vision and that’s why he
was being more aggressive with me. Really?
After a trip to U of M, several more surgeries in both eyes,
as the glaucoma was in the left, too, today the disease is fully
controlled. But during that time, I wasn’t certain how long
I’d be able to see. The worship song of the day that I
seemed to hear constantly was Blessed Be Your Name.
Remember that song? In essence, it said that we would
choose to bless his name when everything was as it
should be and we would also choose to bless his name
when the road was marked with suffering. But the chorus
is what really got to me at that time: “Every blessing you
pour out I’ll turn back to
in, Lord, still I will say,
It went on to say how God gives and takes away but my
heart would still choose to say blessed be the name of the
Lord. No! I felt so weak. But I was standing in church
struggling to see, singing every week (it felt like we sang it
every week) that even when the darkness closes in and I
can’t see anymore, I’ll still bless his name! Was I really
strong enough to do that? Do I trust my Lord enough to
praise him no matter what I’m going through? I know
could begin to deteriorate. I’d like to say I’ve matured
enough in my walk to be able to praise him through
suffering. But let’s get real. I don’t see myself shouting
yippee, thanks for allowing this disease to steal my vision,
Lord! I did not find myself blessing his name a few weeks
ago when my only brother had a heart attack here in
Michigan while I was away in Dallas. But, I am able to
bless him for giving me peace during trying times and
making his presence very real in my life, so that I know
without a doubt that he is walking those times with me and
I am never alone. Hard times are still scary, but I interpret
that song differently now. I don’t believe God actually
expects me to thank him for bad things. But I have
matured enough to know that he expects me to rejoice
over his presence in my life when the “sun’s shining down
on me” and “on the road marked with suffering” as the
As we see with Job, not only will God walk with us through
the hard times, there are blessings on the other side.
Friend, you may be living through some very heavy things
right now that I cannot even begin to understand how to
address. But I do believe God promises
life will be sweet again. I’m claiming Job as my affirmation
of that promise: “The Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life
even more than the first part.” Job 42: 12!