Read: Job 42:1-17
You ever hear the phrase, “be careful what you ask for; you might just get it?” It’s possible that Job, a man venting his pain and anger at God, did not actually expect God to respond. And when God gives Job a reality check, what does Job say?
“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (v3,6)
But what does Job repent for? It’s easy to think that Job was arrogant and continued to maintain his innocence, and for that, he needed to repent. But that was not his sin.
Job says, “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice…” (27:2). Over and over, Job is implying that God is not just. That those who are innocent (like himself) receive tragedy, and those wicked grow old and increase in power (21:7). He questions God’s justice, and this is what he repents of. He sees that even if it looks like God is not bringing justice, God’s plans are far beyond our capacity to understand, and God, therefore, still is just.
And yet, in the epilogue, God vindicates Job. Not just by leading him to better days ahead, but by rebuking his three friends that insisted that Job had sinned. God says to the three, “You have not spoken truth about me, as my servant Job has.” God only forgives them when Job prays for them.
So as we conclude this season of suffering, the story of Job informs us in several ways. First, God welcomes our raw honesty. Second, justice does not always make sense to us. But third, and most importantly, even if we can’t see it, we can trust God.
And this, of course, is exactly what led Jesus to the cross.
- Job’s story ends with blessing and victory. But was this because he earned it? (Nope.) If not, what point is the author making?
- As we walk through Lent and allow ourselves to wrestle with the suffering around us, how does Job teach us the way to walk alongside Jesus to the cross?
Dear God, today I think of the immense suffering that Jesus endured on my behalf, the ultimate picture of trust in the midst of suffering. Lead me to trust in similar ways as I prepare to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen.