By Jim Faughn
What is your first reaction when things go badly for you? What would you do if you lost just about everything except your life? What if all of that happened almost “all at once?”
As I try to internalize those questions, I’m not always completely satisfied with my answers. I’m afraid that, at the very least, I would have a “pity party.” I’m afraid that the question, “Why me?” would come to my mind (and might even be expressed). I would hope that I would not blame God, but I know many who have done just that.
Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the book of Job. As we open the book, we are introduced to a man in the very first verse as one who was “…blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.”
That description of Job did not mean that he was somehow inoculated or isolated from unpleasant experiences. In fact, “unpleasant” does not come close to what Job experienced during the course of a single day. Before we read the end of chapter one, we are reading about Job losing his material possessions and his children. I am not at all trying to minimize what may have happened in your life or in mine, but I seriously doubt that most of us have had a day quite that bad.
What I am intrigued by and, at the same time, challenged by is Job’s reaction to all of this. The concluding verses of chapter one informs us of that reaction:
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (Job 1:20-22)
There is a lot to “unpack” in those three verses. I’m quite sure that there is much more than what you will read here. Let me just mention a few things in terms of contrasts between what might be “normal” reactions and the reactions of Job.
• Instead of standing and shaking his fist at God, Job fell on the ground.
• Instead of turning his back on God, Job worshiped God.
• Instead of thinking that he was in charge of his own fortunes and blessings, Job recognized that God was actually in control of all of this.
• Instead of blaspheming God, Job did not sin.
• Instead of thinking that God was unfair, Job did not “charge God with wrong.”I don’t know about you, but I know I can learn a lot from “a man in the land of Uz.”