Job was a good, God fearing man who did everything right. He was hard working, conscientious and treated other people well. He was a good father and a good husband. He was a man of integrity with strong morals that he lived out; his word was his bond. Then tragedy and calamity struck. Everything was taken away.
Job naturally began to question God. Who wouldn’t!
Job’s questioning might have been the title to a book called Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? But this was not fiction to Job; he lived through it. Job wanted to know why he was being treated so unfairly, and Job was not content to ask the question and not be answered; he set everything aside, put on “sackcloth and ashes” and called out to God every day.
Job is a lot like us, though we my not be as persistent. Many as many of us try to be good people. We try not to hurt people, and we help others when we can. We treat other people well. We are good stewards over what we have been given. We have worked hard and supported ourselves and our families.
We also sometimes question why bad things happen to good people and why bad people seem to prosper and have life easier than us. Life does not seem fair, especially when we are on the short end of the stick.
The difference between Job and some of us is that Job took his anger and his frustration and all of his negative feelings to God, and he refused to stop until he was answered. Many of us turn away from God at the point where life seems unfair and unbearable. Job planted himself and refused to move on without an answer.
We can say the job was honest with God. He did not hold back.
The thing that made all the difference for Job is that God showed up.
An important thing to note is that God did not answer any of Job’s questions. God simply showed up…. and that was enough!
Job said, “Before I had only heard of you, but now I have seen you!” (Job 42:4)
Job knew God existed. Job was a godly man, living a godly life, but he did not know God!
Atheists are a small percentage of the people in the world. Most people believe that God exists, but the world is full of people who do not really know God on a personal level. I was one of those people. I can speak from experience. Until I had an encounter with God (until God “showed up” in my life), I did not know or understand God. I only began to know and understand God when I “saw” God for myself.
Job thought he was pretty righteous. He could point to others who were not as good as he. When God shows up, however, Job realized how utterly insignificant, small and unworthy he was in God’s presence; there was absolutely nothing he could say to God. (Job 40:4)
Before Job had only head knowledge; when God showed up it was experiential, and that changed his perspective.
From the perspective of an encounter with God, Job realized that he had no authority to question God and no ability or authority to change God’s judgments or determinations; Job was in no position to condemn God or to justify himself. (Job 40:8)
Job’s only response, and the only response that is appropriate when God shows up, was to change, to repent, to stop questioning and to accept God simply because He is God. (Job 42:6) Job stopped talking and began listening.
God is God, and we are not. It seems axiomatic, but we often do not live as if God is God. We go about doing our own thing if we govern ourselves. Even those of us who believe in God and “try to do the right thing” do it on our own terms, in our own time and by our own standards.
Everything changes when God shows up!
The end of the story is that God accepted Job (Job 42:8), not because Job was righteous, but because Job saw and honored God for who He is. After Christ, we describe this as accepting God as our Lord and Savior (acknowledging that God has the right to govern our lives and yielding to Him, accepting the sacrifice He offered for us in the death of Jesus on the cross and no longer trying to justify ourselves, but simply asking for mercy and accepting God’s grace).
There is no perspective greater than God’s perspective. When God shows up in our lives, we begin to see the world through God’s eyes. And that makes all the difference!