“If you would prepare your heart, And stretch out your hands toward Him; If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, And would not let wickedness dwell in your tents; Then surely you could lift up your face without spot; Yes, you could be steadfast, and not fear; Because you would forget your misery, And remember it as waters that have passed away, And your life would be brighter than noonday. Job 11:13-17
As soon as I saw the pile on the floor I knew what I had neglected to do. It was obvious. Point of fact it was the odor wafting up the staircase that first alerted me. As I hunched over to remove the mound, it dawned on me that I had just been convicted by three of my senses. Little did I know I would soon be clapperclawed by a fourth.
“You forgot to let the dog out last night,” she said as I grappled with it .
My first thought was ironic, humorous and profane, and wisely I kept it shuttered behind my crooked teeth. Good thing, because it was also inaccurate, for there it was.
Nevertheless, my dear wife had proffered to me data the likes of which I was already intimately acquainted. Her remark was frivolous, unnecessary, unkind, superfluous, and just plain ol’ nasty. In that regard, my wife and Zophar have a lot in common (don’t tell her I said that, I’m just trying to make a point here).
There sits Job; scrapping at his leaching sores with a pot shard, bearing insufferable physical pain and mental anguish, as his good friend Zophar vilifies him, reminding him that he’s a sinner.
Thank you Captain Obvious
Job needed one thing and got something else entirely. Zophar blew it. He was there to affect sympathy, not enumerate the Law. Especially since it was not Job’s transgressions that brought about his condition—satan was to blame and God was allowing it for His divine purposes. Remember what God said about Job?
“Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” Job 1:8
Job was already a repented man and he didn’t need Zophar bashing him over the head with Bible facts. Job’s friends were guilty of taking the obvious truths of God’s word and verbally assaulting another believer with them (sadly, it is an abuse we’re often guilty of as well). The reality is that neither Job nor Zophar (or Eliphaz or Bildad for that matter) knew what was going on.
So Where’s God?
At this point we too may be asking the very same question Job asked, “Why God? Where are you in all this mess?” We even know how the story ends and we might still ask that question.
God Won’t Give You Anything You Can’t Handle
Baloney! Have you ever said that? Well stop saying it because it is not Biblical. Here’s the truth:
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Here are the keys words we need to cling to from this verse: Faithful-God-will-make-the-way-of-escape. Who makes the way? God does. Who is able? God is able. That’s foundational if we are to understand why God seemingly stands by and let’s His children suffer unnecessarily. God is faithful even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13) and asserting that God stands by as the Body suffers is an outrageous notion. By proxy we are the ones who have stood by while He suffered.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16
Satan is the Destroyer, Not God
Job’s story reveals two very important things about satan. First, he incredibly has access to Heaven. I don’t understand it and I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is. Second, satan can do nothing unless God allows it. That naturally begs the questions, “Why does God allow it?”
Here’s the Answer
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
We are being perfected! God has a plan so magnificent that we will not be able to grasp its gloriousness until we’re with Him in Heaven. As for now we are as the yielding stone, hewn and finished at the quarry in anticipation of becoming a part of a superior dwelling.
This is a Test
For those who are in Christ we have the assurance that this is all a preparatory test—from re-birth to last breath, everything we endure is purposed to refine us. The very good news is that every Born Again believer ultimately passes.
These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands