Most everyone is at least somewhat familiar with the story of Job, the guy in the Bible who lost nearly everything in a matter of days. His life is a case study on dealing with adversity. You’ve heard of the patience of Job, right? Rather than yield his soul to the agony of his circumstances, he chose to say, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. Even when his body was smitten with sores and he sat down among the ashes, he refused to entertain his wife’s suggestion that he curse God and die! Rather, he said, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and we not receive evil?”
What was up with this guy? How did he stay anchored to his God through a psychic hurricane, a tsunami, and tornado combined? Job knew things about God and the structure of the universe that some of us, educated as we may think we are, do not comprehend. All of his life, Job walked and talked with God. They were friends and companions, they knew each other. Job’s suffering opened a door for him to know God even better. Job chose, of his own free will, to walk through that door. He could have chosen to shut it and join forces with his wife, accusing God and feasting on bitterness and anger. We all have that choice to make when trials and tribulations come our way. I’ve had some occasions to choose!
Because of what he went through, Job learned many things. He discovered that his human limitations make it silly to project stuff on God. He found out that when something bad happens, the people around us tend to assume it was because of something we did. (Obviously, bad things can and do happen as a result of our actions, but on those occasions we can see the cause and effect relationship between what we do and what happens!) He found out that no matter how good of a person he was, he was still frail, prone to deception, and in need of mercy and grace. Best of all, he found out that his Redeemer lives: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye SEES You.” It doesn’t get much better than this!
The story ends with Job forgiving his accusatory friends and asking God to forgive them. “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” This man took a journey through doubt, fear, and unbelief on a level few others have known. He came through it with his faith intact. Better than intact, actually. His faith gained a depth and a richness and a stability that he could not have obtained through any other means. On the other side of the valley, he was a man who could be trusted with even more blessings than he had before because his heart was steadfast, having been forged in the fire.
I’m calling Job a hero. We need heroes more than ever right now. One of the things I’ve decided to do with this blog is to start collecting stories about lesser-known heroes. Help me make a list.