Recently, I was looking at a painting of an arid region similar to ours, and I noticed that all of the color was in the sky, not the landscape. It struck me, because I like color. I like life. I like fun and cheery paintings, AND I like the land we are surrounded by in West Texas. The old saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder was brought to me, and I was reminded of perspective and an amazing character in the Bible: Job.
In all things we experience, we get to choose the perspective we take. We get to choose the lesson we want to learn. We get to choose who we give an ear to. We get to choose if we want to be a victim of our circumstances or stand in what we know to be true. When the book of Job starts, he is considered as “one that feared God and eschewed evil.” (Job 1:1). When looking at his riches, it was said, “that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.” (Job 1:3).
By the time the first chapter ends though, he has lost all his possessions, and all of his children had been killed in an accident. In the midst of Job’s grief, he rose and said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). He gave God credit for all that he had . . . and all that had been taken. He also “worshipped” Him for it.
And I say, in the midst of his grief to point out that it was not easy for Job. I think we often say, “Well good for Job, but he’s a Bible character. Of course, that’s what he did,” but nowhere in the book of Job does it indicate that this process was easy for him. It was gut wrenching at times, especially when those closest to him not only refused to seek God’s truth and stand beside him in his pain, but blamed Job for his trials.
After he lost so much, he became covered in boils head to toe, and his wife begged him to curse God and die. While still in pain, Job’s response was clear and direct, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10).
In other words, despite the grief of losing his children, possibly the embarrassment of losing all material wealth, and in physical pain, he then losses the respect of his wife. He sees the shallowness of her faithfulness to him and most importantly God. But instead of arguing with her (which would only have given her credit for her foolish thinking), he rebukes her and her negative thinking. The thinking that will take him away from God. While at the same time focusing on the only entity that can sustain: God.
His grief and pain didn’t ever make sense to him, but he chose to trust God at such a level that he praised God in the midst of it. He still knew that God sustained him and would continue to do so. He became so weary and tired at one point that he cursed the day he was born, he wished he had never been conceived, and he desperately wanted the pain to stop. Instead of making the decision to pity himself, he chose God. He chose to rejoice in his pain.
I pray that I would have the faith of Job. I pray that what I’ve learned to be true in prosperity and joy to be true in all circumstances. But to have the faith of Job, I need to know God like Job knew God, and I must be willing to endure what Job endured. For today, not only do I pity myself when I don’t get what I want, but when I don’t get it WHEN I want it. I pity myself when people don’t act as I want them to act; other people that I have not created, nor do I sustain.
So, although I far-off wish and hope that I would have the faith of Job, my actions don’t show that I am mature enough. I need to hold onto the things of God that I know to be true and continue to add to it so that my hope is in Him alone and not me. I need to trust that he has me in His hand even when I’m struggling. I need to know that, as a loving father, he has my best intentions even when it doesn’t make sense.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
— 1 Corinthians 13:11
What do you know to be true? What are you willing to take to the grave even when no one around you agrees with you?
— Written by Kati