Step into the time tunnel with me and let’s travel together back to the distant land of Uz . . .
Wherever it was, Uz had a citizen who had everyone’s respect, because he was blameless, upright, God-fearing, and clean living. He had 10 children, lots of livestock, plenty of land, numerous servants, and a substantial stack of cash. No one would deny that he was “the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3 NASB). He had earned that reputation through years of hard work and honest dealings.
His name was Job, a synonym for integrity and godliness.
Within a matter of hours, without announcement, adversity fell upon Job like an avalanche of jagged rocks. He lost his livestock, crops, land, servants, and—if you can believe it—all 10 children. Soon thereafter he lost his health, his last human hope of earning a living.
I plead with you, please stop reading. Close your eyes, set your imagination free, and identify with that good man who was crushed beneath the weight of adversity.
Now turn to Job 1:21, to an entry he made in his journal soon after the rocks stopped falling. With a quivering hand and a grieving heart he wrote:
“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The LORD gave me what I had,
and the LORD has taken it away.
Praise the name of the LORD!”
Following this incredible statement, Scripture adds:
In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God. (1:22)
Right about now, I’m shaking my head. I’m asking myself, How in the world could he handle so calmly such a series of ordeals mixed with grief? Think of the aftermath: bankruptcy, pain, 10 fresh graves . . . and the loneliness of those empty rooms. Yet we read that Job worshiped God; he did not sin, nor did he blame his Maker.
The logical questions are: Why didn’t he? How could he keep from it? What kept him from bitterness or even thoughts of suicide? At the risk of oversimplifying, I suggest three basic answers, which I’ve discovered from searching through the book that bears Job’s name.
First, Job claimed God’s loving sovereignty. He believed that the Lord who gave had every right to take away (1:21). In his own words, Job stated such:
“Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (2:10)
He looked up, claiming his Lord’s right to rule over his life. Who is the fool that says God has no right to add sand to our clay or marks to our vessels or fire to His workmanship? Who dares to lift a clay fist heavenward and question the Potter’s plan? Not Job! He knew God’s sovereignty is interwoven with His love.
Second, Job counted on God’s promise of resurrection. Remember his immortal words?
“I know that my Redeemer lives,
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
And after my body has decayed,
yet in my body I will see God!” (19:25–26)
Job looked ahead, counting on his Lord’s promise to make all things bright and beautiful in the life beyond. He knew that eventually all pain, sorrow, tears, adversity, and death would be removed. Knowing that “hope will not lead to disappointment” (Romans 5:5), Job endured the brokenness of today by envisioning the beauty of tomorrow.
Third, Job confessed his own lack of understanding. What a relief this brings! Job didn’t feel obligated to explain why. Listen to his honest admission:
“I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you. . . .
I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.” (Job 42:2–3)
He looked within, confessing his inability to put it all together. He rested his adversity with God without feeling forced to answer why.
Job’s story reminds me of many Insight for Living listeners whom we hear from regularly—people who’ve endured much and write to tell us thank you for helping them build the firm, biblical foundation they needed when calamity arrived. In particular, John and Lynn Hampton come to mind. These believers survived extreme adversity by drawing strength from God’s “righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NASB).
Perhaps you are beginning to get bruised by falling rocks. Maybe the avalanche has already fallen . . . maybe not. Adversity may seem 10,000 miles away, as remote as the land of Uz. That’s the way Job felt a few minutes before he lost it all.
So, review these thoughts as you turn out the lights tonight, my friend . . . just in case. God’s power in Job’s life is the same power you can draw on in your life.
Copyright © 2016 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide.