The Lord’s Merciful Purposes: Job Part 1

My parents have imparted many wise sayings – always spoken in conjunction with active discipline and genuine love when I failed to listen- over the years. Here are a few:

  • It’s not hard if you don’t try.
  • You have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk.
  • Discipline is doing the right thing at the right time.
  • Bad news doesn’t get better with time.

And my personal favorite from my Mom, typically uttered somewhat ironically before guests arrived or when I struggled to meet a deadline:

“If you wait ’til the last minute it only takes a minute.”

That’s pretty much how I’ve been treating blogging over the past few weeks. Generally I’ve waited until I have enough time to sit down and piece something together and process it in real time while writing. Going forward I’m going to *try* to be more disciplined in preparing for posts. I was tempted to not even try today. But then I remembered that an attempt to present something is better than just throwing in the towel. Thanks, Mom!

It was the early summer of 2016 when I finished memorizing Revelation. As I’ve shared before, there are difficult realities in that book that Christians can’t ignore or gloss over. Revelation is full of praises to the threefold God. It repeatedly affirms the fairness of His judgments and calls believers to persevere through earthly trials. Because I love connections in the Word these exhortations brought James 5:11 to mind:

“Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”

I was familiar with the account of Job’s life, both from reading it on my own and hearing sermons about it. Satan asks God for permission test Job. God gives it. Job experiences catastrophic loss of family members, wealth, then his own health. On top of all that he endures an abundance of biting words from his so-called friends. Yikes. In all of this, Job doesn’t curse God like Satan expected. Yes. I want that kind of steadfastness for sure.

There are so many lessons we can learn from Job. Why do bad things happen to good people? Simply put: they don’t. There are no good people. Even Job, easily one of the better men to walk this earth, acknowledges his need for a Mediator and a Redeemer. Job remained steadfast because Christ is the sure and steady Anchor.

With those things in mind (and because I felt unbalanced by having only memorized New Testament passages) I figured it would be beneficial to memorize God’s answer to Job in the last four chapters on the book. I wanted to see more of God’s mercy and compassion and to grasp how His purposes worked themselves out in real life.

So how did it work out that summer as I memorized those verses? Did I have lots of epiphanies right away? Did saying those verses over and over again enable me to be inexplicably at peace as I lost a deeply valued friendship because of my commitment to the Bible? Or as Drew and I separately and collectively struggled a lot? Not even close.

If Revelation had me scratching my head at certain parts, God’s answer to Job nearly gave me a bald spot. And that’s where I’m going to end for today.

Until the last minute of next Monday, friends.

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